Chipping Away At That Run Differential Applesauce: Johan Santana CG Shutout + Mike Nickeas Grand Slam = Blowout Victory

You weren't hallucinating...Mike Nickeas really hit a grand slam.

Meet the Mets

In Saturday's Applesauce, I stated that the tenets of winning baseball organizations include hitting well, pitching well and defending well. It was a purely tongue-in-cheek line. But then, the Mets went out and did just that on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Padres 9-0 on the strength of awesome pitching from their ace, a trio of home runs, and some sound defense. So, who deserves the credit for Saturday's victory? Well, mostly the players on the field, who did a great job at playing baseball. Also Terry Collins, for putting the right guys in the lineup and for motivating them to play the game the right way or something. Finally, let's thank the doctor who performed the surgery on Johan Santana's left shoulder. Johan has been spectacular so far this year and yesterday, he tossed his first complete game shutout since 2010, a four-hitter in which he struck out seven Padres and only threw 96 pitches. Now that's efficiency! The Mets got on the scoreboard early, as Scott Hairston ripped a 3-run bomb to left center off of Clayton Richard and just two batters later, Vinny Rottino followed with his first big league bomb. That was the end of the scoring until the bottom of the eighth, when an Ike Davis pinch double knocked in the fifth run of the day. Soon thereafter, that fearsome Canadian-born slugger Michael James Nickeas ("Mike" for short) strode to the plate and poured icing on top of the cake with a grand slam, his first home run of the year. Just for reference, all three bombs wouldn't have been home runs a season ago, meaning that we can give Sandy Alderson and his fence moving abilities credit for this victory. And that's probably it.

(Did you really think I was going to selfishly demand credit for the Mets obviously reading and taking to heart what I wrote here a day ago?)

Choose Your Recap: MLB.com, ESPN NY, Daily News, New York Times, Associated Press, Star-Ledger

The Mets look to take three out of four from the Padres in this afternoon's series finale. It'll be R.A. Dickey on the hill for the Mets and he'll face off against former Cincinnati Red Edinson Volquez. Game time is at 1:10 PM and you can catch all of the action on SNY.

With Ruben Tejada taking a bit longer to return than initially hoped, the Mets have been fortunate to receive solid play at shortstop from Ronny Cedeno. The team got a bit of a scare when Cedeno left for a pinch-runner in Saturday's eighth inning but luckily, it looks like he just had a leg cramp and he should be fine.

It was a big day for Vinny Rottino, who hit his first major league home run in the first inning. Personally, I'm kind of disappointed that Vinny doesn't speak in a stereotypical Super Mario Italian accent and walk around the dugout flipping pizzas and such, but I guess I'll just settle for him getting on base three times.

Terry Collins is looking to get some extra days off for Johan Santana, while he's also trying to get David Wright a day out of the lineup.

In the Post, Steve Serby interviewed David Wright and they spoke about all sorts of David Wright things, like being team Captain and his contract and hitting .400. My favorite part: in answering the question "what would it take for you to hit over .400", David said "A whole lot of luck." #TrueSABR?

Tim Bontemps took a look at 2B prospect Reese Havens, who's healthy and playing down in Binghamton but is off to a really slow start with the bat. The 25-year old typically hits when he's on the field but of course, that whole "on the field" thing is still the big issue.

Around the NL East

Dominating ace starter Kyle Kendrick shut down the Cardinals in a complete game shutout, as the Phillies won 4-0. Wait, what?

Oh Heath Bell, what are we going to do with you. Actually, for the sake of the standings, Mets fans hope the Marlins do nothing with him. Bell entered with a three run lead and made things interesting before he was relieved, the second night in a row this happened. Randy Choate closed it out, though, and the Marlins beat the Giants 5-3.

Oh yeah, how about this: the Mets are in second place now! That's because the Nationals defeated the Braves for the second day in a row, this time by an 8-4 score. Yippee! Also, Chipper Jones is back on the DL for the Braves with a leg contusion.

Around the Majors

Josh Hamilton may be heating up again. The Rangers' outfielder hit a walk-off home run in the 13th inning to defeat the Blue Jays 8-7. It was Hamilton's league leading 20th bomb of the year.

Joe Maddon had some choice words for the Red Sox regarding Friday evening's Sox/Rays on-field scuffle.

Brandon League is out as the Mariners' closer at the moment. Remember, he's the guy the M's once dealt away Brandon Morrow for.

This isn't a MLB highlight but still, this is easily one of the greatest catches I've ever seen. It's from a college game and what makes it even more incredible was the fact that it came with 2 outs in the ninth and the tying run on base.

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