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Over the course of his Mets career, Johan Santana has seen a lot of potential victories die painful deaths thanks to his teammates.
He's allowed one run over the course of a game and wound up a loser because the lineup couldn't push one player across the plate. He's left games with two-run leads and watched the bullpen implode before it could get the final out of the game.
Santana has been stymied baserunning blunders, fielding gaffes and any number of other travesties over the years. It's obviously gotten to be too much for him because Monday night saw him decide to just take things into his own hands instead of waiting for absolutely no help whatsoever from his friends.
Staked to a 4-0 lead, Santana gave it back thanks to a few doubles in the fourth and a two-run homer by Michael McKenry in the seventh inning. It's tempting to say that you simply can't hand back a four-run lead against a team as bad as the Pirates, but Santana might have just known what was coming and chosen to be the captain of his own demise.
He might have had a premonition that the eighth inning would feature just the sort of play that has sent Santana to no-decisions and losses so many times before. Neil Walker lofted a fly ball into left center, leading Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter to lope over for a routine catch that gets made 999 times out of 1,000.
This proved to be the outlier. Nieuwenhuis later said that he was spooked by yelling from the stands, hard to believe given how few people were actually in the stands but it would explain why he and Baxter kept running toward each other instead of just letting one guy handle it.
Nieuwenhuis watched the ball kick of his glove and Walker wound up on third base. He scored on a sacrifice fly to put the finishing touches on a long, slow Mets meltdown from four runs up to 5-4 losers.
It's the kind of knife-twisting, misery-inducing loss that the Mets have made their stock in trade in recent years, but one we haven't seen much of this season. When it happens once in a while like this, the whole thing feels a bit amusing.
Less funny is when the Mets lose three games like this in a week, so let's hope this remains an outlier for our overachievers from Queens.