May 19, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jake Westbrook (35) pitches in the sixth inning pitches in the against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Cardinals Vs. Mets: St. Louis Salvages Final Game Of Series With 5-4 Victory

St. Louis rebounded from a bad weekend to defeat the Mets on Monday.

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Johan Santana Throws 134 Pitches In No-Hitter; Will The Mets Hear Echoes Of Bud Smith?

134 pitches. Friday's Johan Santana no-hitter struck me, as a St. Louis Cardinals fan, for more than one reason. It was proof this Cardinals team continues to struggle, sure, and a bitter pill to swallow against the New York Mets, erstwhile pond scum, but it was also exactly as many pitches as star-crossed rookie Bud Smith threw in his own 2001 no-hitter, still the last one in Cardinals history.

That one, depending on how much weight you put on his brilliant night in San Diego, either cost a diminutive left-hander his career or probably wasn't what the doctor ordered for an early-twentysomething rookie with slow-burning shoulder problems. What will Johan Santana, a veteran returning from shoulder problems, take from the experience?

It's a lot of pitches. Santana's previous season high was 108, and he'd only gone over 100 three times in his first 10 starts. In June 2010 he threw 123 pitches, in the course of throwing seven scoreless innings at Petco Park, but his career high prior to this no-hitter was 125, back in 2007.

It's hard to tell a guy like Santana, who's been through so much on the way back to the big leagues, to come out after eight hitless innings, so I understand why he finished it off-I just hope the Mets treat him gingerly as long as they can.

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Johan Santana No-Hitter: St. Louis Cardinals Victims Of New York Mets’ First No-Hitter

It couldn't have happened to a more appropriate team, I guess-the St. Louis Cardinals, the New York Mets' most heated rivals two decades ago, were the victim Friday of Johan Santana's no-hitter, the first in franchise history. It was a major surprise from the Mets ace, who's struggled with injury for years now and came back in 2012 a much different pitcher than the one who arrived in New York after the 2007 season.

The Cardinals, for their part, managed five walks in the defeat-Yadier Molina and Matt Adams are the MVPs-by-default, going just 0-2 with theirs. Santana, having done what Tom Seaver, Doc Gooden, and Pedro Martinez before him couldn't, improves to 3-2 in what could be a very successful comeback with an ERA of 2.38.

He might not have the mid-90s fastball he flashed as a Rule 5 diamond-in-the-rough on the Minnesota Twins, but judging from Friday night the two-time AL Cy Young Award-winner must have learned something about playing the crafty lefty in his long layoff with shoulder trouble.

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