SAN DIEGO– The Mets were looking for their first road series victory since July 2009. They had their ace Johan Santana on the mound, and everything was heading in the right direction seemingly.

Trying to follow up a brilliant outing from co-ace Mike Pelfrey, Santana went to the mound and didn’t have his “Type A” stuff. He battled through seven innings of work, throwing over 120 pitches, and gutting out a scoreless effort for the second straight start.

In the first, he walked the leadoff batter Jerry Hairston, the first leadoff walk he had allowed since July 2009. After then giving up a hit to Adrian Gonzalez–remember the name–he got out of further trouble.

In the second, he walked two more batters and escpaed damage. In the third, he put two runners on and got Scott Hairston to hit a ground ball back to him to end the inning.

In the fourth, the Mets came through with a run on a Jeff Francoeur RBI single, scoring Jason Bay who led off with a single of his own. That put the Mets up 1-0, and that’s all they’d score.

If the Mets were going to win this game, they would have to shut the Padres out. That’s something the Mets are quite familiar with, doing it in three straight games to the Phillies last week at Citi Field.

Santana would hop in and out of trouble until the seventh, where he threw his only 1-2-3 inning of the game.

In the eighth, protecting a 1-0 lead, Pedro Feliciano relieved Johan Santana and allowed a leadoff hit to Chase Headley. Manager Jerry Manuel would bring in Elmer Dessens who retired the next two batters, before Manuel brought Francisco Rodriguez in for the four-out save.

Rodriguez struck out pinch-hitter Will Venable to keep the tying-run from scoring. In the ninth, K-Rod allowed a leadoff single to Tony Gwynn Jr., who would steal second base. After striking out pinch-hitter Matt Stairs and Jerry Hairston, David Eckstein tied the game at 1-1 with a single up the middle. The next batter Adrian Gonzalez doubled to left, but the combination of Jason Bay and David Wright teamed to throw Eckstein out at the plate to send the game to extra innings, tied 1-1.

Neither team scored in the 10th, and the Mets went down in order in the 11th. In the Padres 11th, after Rodriguez pitched 2 2/3 innings, Raul Valdes relieved him. Tony Gwynn Jr. led off with a double, but was thrown out at third on a bunt by pinch-hitting pitcher Jon Garland.

Jerry Hairston singled Garland to second and Eckstein was hit to load the bases with one out. Adrian Gonzalez came up and hit a walk-off grand slam to left field, as the Padres walked off with an 11 inning, 5-1 win.

It was an absolute heart-breaking loss for the Mets, who were one strike away from their first road series victory of the season.

It’s the second time in two seasons that the Mets have lost to the Padres on a walk-off grand slam. Last season, Everth Cabrera hit one off of Francisco Rodriguez.

It’s the second consecutive outing that Santana has allowed zero runs and the Mets have lost. During his last two starts, Santana has thrown 15 scoreless innings.

Now the Mets limp home to begin a weekend series with Marlins after a much-needed day off tomorrow, trailing the first-place Braves by 4 1/2 games in the NL East. R.A. Dickey will oppose Anibal Sanchez.

Next series probable pitchers:
June 4
New York: R.A. Dickey (2010: 2-0, 2.84 ERA) vs. Florida: Anibal Sanchez (2010: 5-2, 2.89 ERA)
June 5
New York: Jon Niese (2010: 1-2, 4.79 ERA) vs. Florida: Nate Robertson (2010: 4-4, 4.30 ERA)
June 6
New York: Hisanori Takahashi (2010: 4-2, 3.21 ERA) vs. Florida: Ricky Nolasco (2010: 5-4, 4.57 ERA)

Upcoming schedule:
New York Mets:
June 4-6 vs. Florida Marlins
June 8-10 vs. San Diego Padres

Florida Marlins:
June 3 vs. Milwaukee Brewers
June 4-6 @ New York Mets

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