A series with the punchless Miami Marlins may keep that going.
Jeremy Hefner gets his turn in place of Santana as he tries to help the Mets continue their home success against the winless Marlins in the opener of this three-game set Friday night.
Santana, who tossed the Mets' first no-hitter last year, underwent shoulder surgery for the second time in 31 months earlier this week.
Despite potentially losing their ace for a full season for the second time in three years, the Mets (2-1) were terrific on the mound while opening 2013 by taking two of three from San Diego. The staff compiled a 2.00 ERA, with the rotation yielding three runs and eight hits with 18 strikeouts in 20 innings.
Dillon Gee capped the series by allowing one run and three hits in 6 1-3 innings on Thursday, but was saddled with a 2-1 loss.
"He pitched well enough to win. We just weren't good enough to come through for him," said catcher John Buck , who is 6 for 12 with two homers and five RBIs after spending last season hitting .192 with Miami.
Hefner's place in the rotation may be a direct result of Santana's absence, and the right-hander went 4-7 with a 5.09 ERA in 26 games - 13 starts - as a rookie last season. However, he showed promise while winning his last two starts, yielding two runs and striking out 14 in 14 1-3 innings. That included a 4-2 victory at Miami (0-3) in the season finale Oct. 3.
Hefner is 1-0 with a 2.51 ERA in three games - two starts - versus the Marlins.
He may get a chance to improve on those numbers since Miami totaled one run and hit .167 while being swept at Washington. Justin Ruggiano accounted for that lone run with a homer in the second inning of Thursday's 6-1 loss.
"It's three games. I don't think anyone here is really panicking," said Ruggiano, who is 2 for 8 so far, but is 6 for 14 in four games at Citi Field.
Miami's offensive shortcomings, however, aren't new. The team batted a franchise-low .244 last year, and scored 3.8 runs per game for their fewest since managing 3.6 in 1993, its expansion year.
On the mound, the Marlins, losers of nine of their last 11 at Citi Field, are slated to give Alex Sanabia his first start since Sept, 24, 2011. The right-hander went 6-7 with a 3.93 ERA in 18 starts in the minors last year, and allowed four runs in seven innings over five games - two starts - in spring training.
"It's been a while since I've been here," Sanabia told MLB.com. "A year and a half. Especially with all the injuries that I've been through. First it was a groin. Then it was an oblique. After the oblique, it was the shoulder.
"It was just a streak of things that just happened, continuous. I came back from the oblique injury, and the day I pitched, it was the shoulder."
Rookie manager Mike Redmond is dealing with an injury crisis at first, with Logan Morrison (knee), Joe Mahoney (intercostal strain) and Casey Kotchman (hamstring) on the disabled list. Greg Dobbs went 1 for 4 Thursday, starting at first for just the 38th time in his 812 games.
|April 04, 2013||Casey Kotchman||Day-to-Day||Strained left hamstring|
|March 31, 2013||Alfredo Silverio||60-Day DL||Sprained right elbow|
|March 31, 2013||Logan Morrison||60-Day DL||Recovery from right knee sirgery|
|March 31, 2013||Jose Ceda||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 27, 2013||Henderson Alvarez||15-Day DL||Mild right shoulder inflammation|
|March 24, 2013||Nathan Eovaldi||15-Day DL||Mild right shoulder inflammation|
|New York Mets|
|March 22, 2013||Jenrry Mejia||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Frank Francisco||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Neck strain|
|March 22, 2013||Johan Santana||15-Day DL||Left shoulder surgery - out for season|
NEW YORK (AP) -- When Mike Redmond was leaving his office in the visitors' clubhouse in Washington on Thursday, he ditched the unopened bottle of champagne that was reserved for celebrating his first win as a major league manager.
Pfft, he thought. Too much pressure.
The three bottles of bubbly he opened at Citi Field on Friday night, though, did the trick just fine.
Redmond toasted with his coaches and owner Jeffrey Loria after the Miami Marlins finally broke out the bats and rode an impressive performance by Alex Sanabia to a 7-5 victory over the New York Mets .
"Pretty cool, obviously," Redmond said. "I knew it wasn't going to be easy, and it wasn't."
Redmond could've been referring to the three losses against Washington that left the Marlins as the only team without a win, or how Miami kept letting New York get close after building a 6-0 lead in the seventh.
"No easy wins in the big leagues," he said. "But for the first one, I will remember it for the rest of my life."
Sanabia (1-0) had been absent from the majors since late in the 2011 season. He pitched six shutout innings, working around six hits, three walks and a hit batter.
Sanabia pitched in the majors for the first time since Sept. 24, 2011, and earned his first win since Sept. 22, 2010, against the Mets. He spent last year in Triple-A and was headed back this season before Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez were injured.
"It felt awesome to be back out there on a big league mound. It's been a while," Sanabia said.
Miami took advantage of shortstop Ruben Tejada 's error to score five runs in the seventh. The Mets rallied and brought the tying run to the plate a couple of times, but couldn't catch the Marlins in a tricky, swirling wind.
"We've become so accustomed to him making all the plays that it's shocking when he doesn't," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Greg Dobbs ' homer off Jeremy Hefner (0-1) leading off the second gave the Marlins their first lead of 2013 - and only their second run overall. Miami went 19 consecutive innings to start the year without scoring before Justin Ruggiano homered at Washington on Thursday.
The Marlins were 1 for 20 with runners in scoring position this season before Placido Polanco 's two-run single during the big seventh off Greg Burke . Dobbs added a sacrifice fly and Ruggiano and Rob Brantly hit consecutive RBI doubles for Miami in the inning.
"The bats finally came out a little bit tonight," Ruggiano said. "We're going to score runs. We're going to manufacture runs."
Miami's bullpen didn't make it easy on Redmond, though. Chad Qualls gave up a three-run homer to Daniel Murphy in the bottom of the seventh.
Murphy came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth against A.J. Ramos but grounded out to second base.
Then, with Miami ahead 7-3 in the ninth, Steve Cishek gave up an RBI double to pinch-hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis and a run-scoring single to Lucas Duda with one out before finishing off the win.
Redmond was hired after Ozzie Guillen was let go following a disappointing 69-93 season. Redmond, a member of the Marlins' World Series championship team in 2003, took over a club that lost the likes of Jose Reyes , Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson since opening day last year.
After the win, he waited on the field until his family could get down to him for some hugs.
"For them to be here and see how much it means to me, it was pretty neat," Redmond said.
The young Marlins looked overmatched during a season-opening series in Washington. To make matters worse, first baseman Casey Kotchman was injured and placed on the disabled list Friday. Redmond had four players with little experience at the position during a workout before batting practice - the four shared three gloves while fielding grounders.
Dobbs got the start at first and made several nice plays.
Hefner was tabbed for the Mets' rotation after Johan Santana was unable to pitch in spring training. Santana then had a second shoulder surgery in 31 months and will miss the entire season. Hefner yielded five hits and a run in six innings, using a mixture of speeds and pitches.
"We're a resilient bunch and we're not ever going to give up," he said. "I was just hoping to keep them close and we did come back, but we just didn't have enough outs."
NOTES: Redmond, making his first trip to Citi Field, said he missed the Mets' old ballpark. "I miss the smell of old Shea Stadium," he said, politely calling it "stale." ... Duda misjudged Brantly's fly ball to left field in the fourth. Duda took a step in and to the side before racing back. By then the ball was way out of his reach and Brantly had a double. ... Miami recalled C Kyle Skipworth, the No. 6 overall draft pick in 2008 and one behind reigning NL MVP Buster Posey , from Triple-A New Orleans when Kotchman went on the DL.