NEW YORK — Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in New York Mets history, helped by an umpire’s missed call and an outstanding catch in left field in an 8-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.

After a string of close calls in their 51-season history, Santana finally finished the job in the Mets’ 8,020th game since the team was born in 1962.

“Finally, the first one,” Santana said. “That is the greatest feeling ever.”

He needed a couple key assists to pull off the majors’ third no-hitter this season.

Carlos Beltran, back at Citi Field for the first time since the Mets traded him last July, hit a line drive over third base in the sixth inning that hit the foul line and should have been called fair. But third-base umpire Adrian Johnson ruled it foul and the no-hitter was intact – even though a replay clearly showed a mark where the ball landed on the chalk line.

“It was tough because it happened so quick. I wasn’t able to see anything,” Santana said.
“The umpire made his call and that was the end of it.”

But with the next batter at the plate, Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo twice got in Johnson’s face for heated arguments – the two even appeared to bump each other. Rookie manager Mike Matheny also came out to protest, but nobody was ejected.

Hometown kid Mike Baxter then made a tremendous catch in left field to rob Yadier Molina of extra bases in the seventh. Baxter crashed into the wall, injured his shoulder and left the game.

Making his 11th start since missing last season following shoulder surgery, Santana (3-2) threw a career-high 134 pitches in his second consecutive shutout. He struck out eight and walked five.

“Amazing,” Santana said. “Coming into this season I was just hoping to come back and stay healthy and help this team, and now I am in this situation in the greatest city for baseball.”

REDS 4, ASTROS 1:  Jay Bruce homered and drove in two runs to back a solid performance by Mike Leake, and Cincinnati handed host Houston its seventh straight loss.

PHILLIES 6, MARLINS 4:  Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer, Hector Luna had three RBI and Philadelphia beat visiting Miami.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

INDIANS 7, TWINS 1: Derek Lowe shut down Minnesota’s lineup with ease for the second time this season and Jason Kipnis hit a grand slam, leading Cleveland to a win at home.

RAYS 5, ORIOLES 0: David Price scattered three hits over 7 1⁄3 innings, Hideki Matsui homered and Tampa Bay beat visiting Baltimore.

YANKEES 9, TIGERS 4: Curtis Granderson hit a grand slam against his former team in the second inning, and CC Sabathia made the lead hold up after a shaky start, helping New York win at Detroit.

WHITE SOX 7, MARINERS 4: Alexei Ramirez drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out infield single in the eighth inning as host Chicago won its ninth straight.

ROYALS 2, ATHLETICS 0:  Felipe Paulino kept the scuffling Athletics at bay for six innings and Kansas City’s bullpen handled the rest to send visiting Oakland to its season-worst ninth straight loss.

Yuniesky Betancourt hit an RBI double and Mike Moustakas singled home a run in the first inning.