For more than a half century and 8,020 games, the New York Mets chased that elusive no-hitter. On Friday night against the Cardinals, Johan Santana finally finished the job.
"Finally, the first one," Santana said, the AP reports. "That is the greatest feeling ever."
Santana said he never has thrown a no-hitter at any level.
"I don't think I've ever even thrown a no-hitter in video games," Santana said told Baseball Tonight.
But the first no-hitter in New York Mets history was also costly, Sports Illustrated noted: Baxter headed to the disabled list, injured on the memorable night at Citi Field.
To start the seventh with one down, left fielder Mike Baxter -- who grew up rooting for the Mets only 10 minutes from where Citi Field stands -- made a terrific catch to save the no-hitter, going back on a bullet from Yadier Molina.,
Santana cruised from there into the , when Molina hit a one-out drive to deep left. Baxter, raced back and before crashing full force into the fence.
Baxter stayed down on the warning track as Mets trainers, players and coaches rushed out to him. Santana crouched in the infield with a couple of teammates and then made a few warmup tosses to stay loose.
"When I saw him running back onto the warning track and he made that play, it was amazing. An outstanding play and he saved the game," said Santana, traded to the Mets by Minnesota before the 2008 season.
According to Sports Illustrated, the Mets said Saturday that Baxter displaced the joint between his right collarbone and sternum and tore rib cartilage on his right side when he slammed into the outfield fence to rob Yadier Molina of extra bases in the seventh inning.
Baxter actually hit the padded wall with his left shoulder, and stayed down on the warning track because it went numb.
Baxter walked off the field under his own power, with trainer Ray Ramirez holding the outfielder's left arm because Baxter had no feeling in it.
"I'm glad I had a chance to be part of it. It's a great night for the Mets," Baxter said
In the ninth inning with 27,609 fans all standing, reports ESPN, Santana's final pitch, a 3-2 change-up, resulted in David Freese swinging and missing.
The Mets rushed out of the dugout and mobbed Santana in a raucous dogpile as security guards tackled a fan who ran onto the field near home plate.
Moments later, the pitcher raised his right arm and saluted the crowd, which was chanted his name from the eighth inning on. The big scoreboard in center flashed Santana's picture and read "No-Han."
After the final out, Santana did interviews with the Mets' TV and radio station before he walked into the clubhouse.
"We did this together," Santana said. "It is not just about me. We had a great, great game tonight. Everyone participated. We did the little things the way we were supposed to do it. And it worked out good. I thanked them because we as a team made history tonight."