NEW YORK — From across the Atlantic Ocean, Johan Santana was as surprised as anyone.
Until Friday, Santana had produced the only no-hitter in Mets history, a 134-pitch effort on June 1, 2012. Despite all the legendary pitchers who have come through Flushing before or since — Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden, Jacob deGrom, and most recently Max Scherzer, among many others — only Santana had managed the feat.
Although it took 51 seasons for the Mets to achieve that first no-hitter, Santana knew it was only a matter of time before someone else matched it.
What he didn’t realize was that it would be five someones at once.
“I thought the Mets would have a no-hitter this year,” Santana said Saturday in a telephone interview, as relayed by a Mets official. “I thought it would be Jake or Scherzer. I didn’t think it would be combined.”
Santana, who is vacationing in Spain, was asleep while the no-hitter was taking place. He saw the news when he awoke this morning.
“I think it’s great,” Santana said. “Because so many pitchers were involved, it’s a great thing for team building. It was special for fans. The way bullpens are used now, I think this will become more commonplace.”
The Mets’ combined no-hitter required a record 159 pitches, though it included none of the pitch-count stress that took place during Santana’s no-no in 2012. Making just his 11th start after missing a full season due to left shoulder surgery, Santana eclipsed his prescribed pitch count by a significant margin. The 2022 Mets, following more modern baseball protocols, were never going to allow starting pitcher Tylor Megill to do the same.
Instead, manager Buck Showalter removed Megill after 88 pitches, turning from there to Drew Smith, Joely Rodríguez, Seth Lugo and Edwin Díaz.
A no-hitter, however, is a no-hitter, no matter what way it comes about. For now, Santana remains the only Mets pitcher to throw one in a solo effort.
The team intends to honor him for the 10-year anniversary of that achievement in a May 31 ceremony at Citi Field, with his catcher, Josh Thole, also in attendance. Those two will also attend Old-Timers’ Day on Aug. 27.
“Looks like the Mets are having a special season,” Santana said. “Can’t wait to see everyone in a month.”