- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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NEW YORK -- As he navigated the New York Mets lineup Tuesday night, Hector Santiago found himself taken back to his days growing up as a Mets fan in Newark, N.J. Here he was, on the mound approximately 20 miles from his home, facing the third baseman he grew up rooting for.
"Growing up watching David Wright and me facing him, it's not like I was scared of him or not attack him, but I was just kind of like trying to be better than him because he's somebody I watched growing up and know what he can do," Santiago said. "Coming here was an awesome feeling."
Santiago faced his childhood team and performed quite well by throwing seven shutout innings of four-hit ball in the Mets' 1-0 win in 10 innings Tuesday at Citi Field. Santiago estimated he had 100 friends and family in attendance, some of whom were hoping for a Mets win that included him pitching well.
"I kept wearing it and wearing it and I'm like, 'Hey, we're going to get it, I'm going to go out there and pitch and get the job done,'" Santiago said. "But it kind of went their way, and I got a few happy uncles right now but they were happy on both sides. I got a few phone calls and they were saying great job, but they got the win over there."
Santiago admitted he was a little too hyped in the first few innings as he pitched in front of that crowd, trying to do a little bit more than necessary. He ended up facing 10 batters the first two innings, stranding four runners to avoid damage.
After the second, though, he settled down. From the third inning on, Santiago found his groove, never putting on more than one runner an inning and even retiring the final eight batters he faced. He struck out eight batters.
As the Chicago White Sox prepare to welcome back injured starter John Danks, manager Robin Ventura said Santiago is making a strong case to stay in the rotation. In his past two starts, Santiago has yielded one run in 12⅓ innings.
For Santiago, pitching in a scoreless game against Matt Harvey, who had a perfect game through 6⅔ innings, added to an already memorable night.
"That's awesome. Everybody is watching this game now. Now, you got all eyes on you because he's in the seventh inning with a perfect game and everybody in the world is watching. They know what's going on and you're out there competing with him," Santiago said. "Obviously, I didn't have a no-hitter or perfect game, but zeros up there; I had just as many zeros as he did, and we were just battling. That's a great game right there. It went the opposite way for us but that was a great game on both sides."
Without Floyd: Starter Gavin Floyd underwent season-ending surgery Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York to repair his ulnar collateral ligament and a torn flexor muscle in his elbow. The recovery time is expected to be 14-19 months. The team did not have an update following the game.
Konerko back: First baseman Paul Konerko had the night off as Adam Dunn played first base. Ventura said Konerko will probably be back in the lineup Wednesday and that he's healthy. Dunn went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
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