Johan Santana is struggling since his no-hitter

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Did the 134 pitches take a toll? After getting lit up by the Yankees last week, Johan Santana gave up four runs in five-plus innings Thursday versus the Rays in his second start since his no-hitter.

The 134 pitches Santana threw in shutting down the Cardinals were a career high for the left-hander, who was handled carefully during the first two months in his first season back from shoulder surgery. Pitching on six days’ rest last Friday, he gave up six runs and four homers in five innings in a loss to the Yankees. Today, working on five days’ rest, he got a win, but he allowed four runs in five-plus innings.

It actually should have been worse. Santana loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, giving up a single to Hideki Matsui, a double to Ben Zobrist and a walk to Matt Joyce. Jon Rauch took over and managed to strand all three runners by getting two strikeouts and then a groundout.

Santana threw just 51 of his 95 pitches for strikes in this one. He issued four walks, his second highest total of the season (he walked five in the no-hitter).

Santana’s ERA has jumped from 2.38 to 3.23 since the no-no and would be higher if not for Rauch’s effort. The Mets have to be hoping its an aberration, not a trend. Santana and R.A. Dickey have been an outstanding one-two punch so far, but Santana needs to return to May form to keep that up.

Nationals place Anthony Rendon on disabled list

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The Nationals announced that third baseman Anthony Rendon has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 19, with a toe contusion. Pitcher Austin Adams was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse.

Rendon fouled a pitch off of his foot on April 13 in a game against the Rockies. The Nationals were hoping he wouldn’t need to go on the disabled list, which is why he was day-to-day for a week and a half. Unfortunately, Rendon’s stint on the DL can only be backdated to Thursday, so he won’t be eligible to return until this weekend.

Rendon, 27, is hitting .286/.355/.411 with a home run and four RBI in 62 plate appearances so far this season. Wilmer Difo has been handling third base while Rendon has been out and figures to continue doing so for the next week or so.