NEW YORK — Mat Latos outpitched Johan Santana, and the San Diego Padres stopped New York's nine-game home winning streak by beating the Mets 4-2 on Thursday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
Adrian Gonzalez had three hits for the surprising Padres, including a go-ahead single. David Eckstein and Chase Headley each hit RBI doubles.
Latos and three San Diego relievers combined to retire the final 22 Mets batters after Henry Blanco's two-run homer in the second inning, one of New York's two hits. Jose Reyes opened the game with an infield single.
The lack of run support was nothing new for Santana (4-3), who pitched 15 shutout innings over his previous two starts without getting a decision. This time, he squandered a two-run lead and took the loss.
It was New York's fifth defeat in the past 24 games at Citi Field.
Jon Garland is set to pitch for San Diego against left-hander Jonathon Niese in the 7:10 p.m. nightcap, a makeup of Wednesday night's rainout.
The 22-year-old Latos (6-4) allowed only two hits in six innings and struck out eight. The right-hander set down his last 13 batters and improved to 5-1 in his last seven starts.
Luke Gregerson fanned all three batters in the seventh, Mike Adams worked a perfect eighth and ex-Met Heath Bell pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 20 chances.
Pitching on seven days' rest after tossing seven scoreless innings June 2 at San Diego, Santana was missing his best stuff. He walked No. 8 batter Tony Gwynn Jr. to start the fifth. After Latos struck out trying to bunt, Eckstein lined an RBI double to left that tied it at 2.
One out later, Gonzalez came up with first base open – but the Mets made a curious decision and pitched to him anyway. The slugger hit a humpback liner over second for a run-scoring single that put the Padres ahead 3-2.
Santana induced his third double-play grounder in the seventh, but couldn't get through the inning. Eckstein walked and scored from first when Headley doubled to deep right, chasing the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
In the second, Blanco homered into the front row of left-field seats on the 10th pitch of his first at-bat in eight days. The backup catcher has been bothered by a sore neck.
San Diego loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth on Gonzalez's leadoff single and consecutive walks. Jerry Hairston Jr. hit a sacrifice fly, ending Santana's scoreless streak at 18 2/3 innings.
The left-hander escaped further damage when David Wright started a nifty double play on Chris Denorfia's sharp grounder to third.
San Diego grounded into four double plays. … LHP Pedro Feliciano made his 402nd appearance for the Mets, passing Hall of Famer Tom Seaver for second place on the club's career list. John Franco (695) is first. … Jesus Feliciano struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth for New York, his major league debut after 13 years in the minors. … Mets bullpen coach Randy Niemann left the club to attend his mother's funeral in California. Rick Waits, the team's minor league pitching coordinator, will fill in through Saturday.