It Was Quite a Weekend for the Mets

The Mets grab a share of first place after 6-1 victory

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Jun 4, 2012  |  Updated 7:49 AM EDT
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Jon Niese struck out a career-high 10 Cardinals in six shutout innings en route to a 6-1 victory on Sunday night.

Most weekends, that would represent a shining pitching performance that filled a team and a fan base with swelling pride. This wasn't most weekends, though, which means Niese will have to settle for an elevated heart rate (which didn't cause him any trouble on the mound) and a victory that didn't come without much fanfare.

At least he wasn't alone with the elevated heartbeat. It's hard to imagine anyone who watched the Mets roll through the defending World Series champs over the last three days without finding themselves making sure that their heart wasn't leaping right out of their chest.

It started on Friday night, of course, when Johan Santana became Nohan Santana by throwing the first no-hitter in the history of the Mets franchise. It was as Mets a no-hitter as you could ever hope to see thanks to five walks, a blown call by an umpire and Queens native Mike Baxter winding up on the disabled list after flying into the wall to keep Santana's bid alive.

There's no way to make a no-hitter boring, but this was a particularly exciting one that felt like it was actually worth all the waiting. And the fact that it was thrown by a pitcher with Santana's recent medical history for a team that's defying expectations? Well, that almost makes it a perfect game.

Then came R.A. Dickey and another shutout on Saturday, a second act that led to nothing but giddiness on a day when the game normally wouldn't register because of Friday night's heroics. Dickey has now struck out 30 batters while allowing one run and one walk over his last three starts, a run that leaves the Mets with the most improbably dominant 1-2 punch at the top of any rotation in the league.

The fun didn't end with Dickey, Niese and Santana. Television host Bill Maher announced that he bought one of those minority shares kicking around this offseason, giving the Mets a dash of unexpected celebrity in the ownership suite.

Santana wasn't the only one pulling on the historical strings. John Franco got inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on Sunday night, drawing comparisons between this year's team and the 2000 group that found their way into the World Series while giving his speech.

Frankly, Franco's selling his 2000 team short. That team came off a playoff appearance and had winning records a couple of years in a row while this year's Mets team was pronounced dead on arrival before the year even started.

After Niese's victory, the Mets ended the weekend in a three-way tie for first place in the National League East so their signs of life are pretty undeniable at this point.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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