Every Mets game in history has provided the same fleeting moment of disappointment; the moment when that first bunt, bloop, or line drive by the opposing team falls in for a hit and we realize that history will not be made. Amazingly, on this night, that moment never came.
The first few innings went by with zeroes across the board, but it still felt like any other Mets game. By the end of the 5th, with the game now official, I was secretly hoping a downpour would come and cause a rain shortened no-hitter (I later found out shortened no-hitters do not count).
The rain, fortunately, never came, but the baseball miracles did. After Beltran's phantom foul ball and subsequent ground out in the 6th, there was a collective sigh of relief. When Mike Baxter somehow tracked down Yadier Molina's long line drive, sacrificing his shoulder in the process, Citi Field was as loud as I've ever heard it. The unthinkable was still possible.
When the top of the 8th rolled around, you could sense the term "no-hitter" was on mind of every fan in the stadium. Of course, out of pure fear, no Mets fan would dare speak those words. But that didn't stop every Cardinals fan in my section from trying to jinx it ("Did you know Santana is throwing a no-hitter?"). Still, inning over, zero hits.
The bottom of the 8th was just plain strange. For the first time ever I was hoping the Mets would get out quickly. Nobody in the stands seemed to really be paying attention. When Santana came up to bat he received a less-than-overwhelming applause. Only the ninth inning mattered to anyone.
Every moment of that final inning was full of nervous energy. I was probably not alone in thinking, almost expecting, that the Cards would get a hit in the 9th. The first batter hit a liner to center that looked like a hit off the bat. The second batter hit a bloop that looked like it might fall on the infield grass. The third batter went ahead 3-0, with Met-killer Molina waiting on deck to break the hearts of Mets fans yet again.
But three strikes later, the Citi Field crowd erupted like it was Game 7 of the World Series. After what Mets fans have been through, it may as well have been.