They're the first-place New York Mets. Well, at least co-owners of the division lead with the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins. (See the standings here.)
The Mets ran their scoreless streak to 25 innings, all against St. Louis, before Elvin Ramirez allowed an eighth-inning run in his major league debut. The Amazin's nonetheless beat the Cardinals, 6-1, to improve to 31-23. Kirk Nieuwenhuis produced a career-high three RBIs, including a two-run homer.
The Mets, incidentally, have the two longest scoreless streaks in the majors this season -- 28 (May 25-28) and now 25 innings. Texas and Toronto each had 23-inning streaks.
As for the Mets being in first place, Terry Collins said: "Well, I wasn't aware of that. I do know that they should be very proud of where they are. They've played very hard. They've come through in big games. The one thing that makes them: They've never hung their heads. After a bad game, after a tough loss where somebody may come back and beat you late in the game, they get up, they come in, take their showers, go back to their apartments and come back the next day ready to play. And that's one of the things that, I think, makes these guys special. They just don't get down about stuff."
Monday's news reports:
• Political commentator Bill Maher, the host of HBO's "Real Time," acknowledged Sunday at Citi Field that he has purchased a minority stake in the Mets. Maher, 56, declined to specify the share he purchased as part of Fred Wilpon and family's sale of stakes totaling $240 million. He joked to reporters pregame: “I had my money in Lehman Brothers in 2008, so this looked pretty good."
Writes J.P. Pelzman in the Record:
Maher won’t be making any decisions for the team, nor does he want to. "I have enough stress in my real job," said Maher, wearing a Mets cap. "I don’t need to worry about this." Maher, a graduate of Pascack Hills High School, said he has been a Mets fan "my whole life," adding that he "vividly" remembers the 1969 World Series champions. He also said he watched the historic Game 6 of the 1986 World Series at the famed comedy club in Los Angeles, The Improv, with fellow comic Jerry Seinfeld. He was asked why Seinfeld, also a Mets fan, hasn’t bought a share of the team. "Why he didn’t, I have no idea," Maher said, smiling. "He’s sure got more money than I do."
• Jon Niese experienced a rapid heartbeat during Sunday night's game. It was the same issue that forced Niese from a game last June 25 at Texas. The southpaw said his heartbeat had normalized before the game's completion. He underwent extensive testing after last year's episode and doctors could not detect anything alarming, he said.
• Flanked by former teammates from the Mets and St. John's as well as his family, John Franco became the 26th inductee to the Mets Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony. During his speech, Franco spoke about his affinity for the Mets growing up. He suggested the 2012 Mets have a vibe like the 2000 edition that reached the World Series. Read more in the Post, Newsday and Star-Ledger.
N.Y. STATE OF MIND
A look at New Yorkers' rooting interest by geographic region, based on a Quinnipiac University survey.
• Mets fans apparently are a minority in New York State by a wide margin. A Quinnipiac University poll found 60 percent of state residents support the Yankees, with 22 percent supporting the Mets, 5 percent the Red Sox, and 2 percent for the Phillies.
Broken down by region: In New York City, the Yankees have a 62-21 edge over the Mets. The Yankees' edge drops to 56-38 in the city's suburbs. Upstate, the Yankees lead 59-22. Other teams account for the remainder.
The poll was conducted from May 22-28 and surveyed 1,705 New York State adults. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.
• With Johan Santana requiring extra rest, the Mets revamped their rotation for the upcoming week. Dillon Gee now pitches on standard rest opposite Cardinals right-hander Kyle Lohse in Monday's matinee series finale. Chris Young, returning from the same surgery Santana underwent on the anterior capsule of the pitching shoulder, starts Tuesday's series opener in Washington.
R.A. Dickey tentatively starts on short rest for the third time in his Mets career on Wednesday, although that it not set in stone yet. Dickey first wants to see how he feels during a between-starts bullpen session today. If Dickey is uncomfortable, Jeremy Hefner will take Wednesday's start. Either way, the hope is that Santana can start Thursday in D.C., with Niese going Friday at Yankee Stadium. Santana also will throw a bullpen session today, after which he will have a better gauge whether he requires more than one extra day rest.
Miguel Batista, meanwhile, will be activated from the DL on Tuesday and be available in case Young has a short start in his first major league game since May 1, 2011.
• Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with Santana. The exchange included:
Q: When you said after the game, “Yeah, baby, believe it!” was there anything special about that?
A: I always say that. It’s my thing with my fans and teammates.
• Ruben Tejada (quadriceps) will begin a rehab assignment today with Triple-A Buffalo. Wally Backman indicated Tejada is scripted for five innings apiece Monday and Tuesday, seven innings Wednesday and a full game Thursday with the Bisons. Collins expects Tejada to be activated from the DL for Friday's game in the Bronx.
Jason Bay is due to play the field Monday with Class A St. Lucie after DHing in a pair of rehab games with the Florida State League club the past two days. Bay may be back for the midweek series in Washington. Collins added that it's logical for Bay to DH in American League parks, which the Mets visit this weekend to face the Yankees and then immediately thereafter at Tampa Bay. Read more in Newsday.
• Mike Baxter, who had the no-hitter-saving catch for Santana, officially landed on the DL with a displaced collarbone and fractured rib cartilage Sunday. The Mets promoted corner infielder Josh Satin from Buffalo. The Mets also brought left-hander Robert Carson to New York, but Ramon Ramirez -- who injured a hamstring en route to the Santana postgame celebration -- remains active at least until a doctor's exam today.
• In light of Ramirez's injury, Jared Diamond in the Journal looked at celebration-induced baseball injuries. Writes Diamond:
Pitcher Jake Peavy broke his rib celebrating after the Padres clinched the National League West in 2005 and missed the playoffs. Former utility man Denny Hocking broke his nose after hitting a walk-off home run when his teammates pounded his head and smacked the bill of his helmet into his face. Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan tore his meniscus while attempting to smash his teammate with a shaving-cream pie. Those injuries seem insignificant compared to what happened to Angels designated hitter Kendrys Morales. In May 2010, Morales tried to jump onto home plate to celebrate hitting a dramatic walk-off grand slam. He landed unnaturally and severely fractured his leg, missing nearly two full seasons as a result.
• Matt Harvey did not surrender a run, but the highly touted prospect lasted only four innings in Buffalo's 5-3 win against Toledo because he walked five and his pitch count reached 84. Matt Tuiasosopo belted a grand slam and Brad Emaus added a solo homer in the Bisons' win. Read Sunday's full minor league recap here.
• The three-day MLB draft begins Monday night with the first and supplemental rounds. The Mets pick 12th overall. They also will pick at No. 35 on the first night as one of two selections attained for losing Jose Reyes as a free agent to the Marlins. The Mets have been linked to Alabama high school outfielder David Dahl, Louisiana high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini and Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha. There may be an outside chance the Mets select California high school shortstop Tanner Rahier.
• Former Mets GM Jim Duquette is due to donate a kidney to his daughter Lindsey during a transplant Monday. Lindsey suffers from the kidney disease FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis) and has been on constant dialysis. Read more in the Post and Daily News.
• Two fans who allegedly ran onto the field celebrating Santana's no-hitter Friday each were charged with two misdemeanors and released after being held for 38 hours. The penalty will include a Citi Field ban. Read more in the Post, Times, Journal and Newsday.
TRIVIA: Wyoming high school outfielder Brandon Nimmo was selected by the Mets with their first draft pick last June. Whom did the organization select with its second pick?
Sunday's answer: Bay was a member of the St. Lucie Mets as an actual minor leaguer in 2002. He was acquired that spring training in a trade that sent Lou Collier to the Montreal Expos. Bay then was dealt that July to San Diego along with Bobby Jones for right-handers Steve Reed and Jason Middlebrook.