Mets Host Bucs

Johan Santana is showing the Mets he can do it all. Now, he gets a second chance to show the fans at Shea Stadium he's worth the richest contract signed by a pitcher.

After being booed off the mound in his home debut, the ace will try to redeem himself Monday night when the Mets open a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made New York -232 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 7.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 77% of bets for this game have been placed on New York -232 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.

Santana (3-2, 3.12 ERA) signed a $137.5 million, six-year contract after he was acquired from Minnesota for four prospects this winter, but struggled through his first start at Shea for the Mets (13-11). The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner gave up five runs and six hits with seven strikeouts, but also served up a season-high three homers in a 5-3 loss to Milwaukee on April 12. He was pulled after the last homer and was booed on the way to the dugout.

"I've seen it before," Santana told the team's official Web site after the loss. "That's not the first time I've seen it happen to a home player. We're not perfect. I wish we could do everything the way everybody wants, but we are human beings. We're going to make mistakes sometimes."

Santana rebounded from that lackluster outing by winning his next two starts - both on the road. The three-time All-Star was terrific in his last start on Wednesday, allowing two runs and seven hits - none after the fourth inning - with four strikeouts in seven innings of a 7-2 win at Washington.

"It's just one of those days where everything works out for you," said Santana, who also had the second two-hit game of his career with two doubles.

Santana has only made one career start against the Pirates (10-15), a win for the Twins on June 18, 2006.

He'll try to help New York to a three-game winning streak after it beat Atlanta 6-3 on Sunday to take the three-game set. The Mets beat the Braves 4-3 on Saturday after losing five of six.

Carlos Delgado turned boos into a standing ovation Sunday, hitting two solo homers in two at-bats following a 4-for-46 slump over the previous 13 games. The first baseman hadn't hit a homer since getting his first of the season in a loss in the home opener to Philadelphia on April 8.

The Mets went 4-2 against the Pirates last season, winning two of three matchups at Shea to improve to 5-1 in the last six meetings there.

The Pirates, coming off Sunday's 5-1 victory over Philadelphia that halted a three-game slide, give the ball to Ian Snell (2-1, 4.45), who would like to get off to a strong start.

The right-hander gave up four runs - all in the first inning - and eight hits in six innings before Pittsburgh rallied for a 7-4 win over St. Louis on Wednesday.

"That first inning, my mechanics - I was rushing myself and got out of control," Snell said. "The next five, I just stayed focused. I could have easily gave up and just threw in the towel, but (Matt Morris) talked to me and settled me down."

Snell, who is 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA in three starts against New York, won't have Morris to help him Monday after the Pirates released the veteran right-hander, who was 0-4 with a 9.67 ERA in five starts.

Snell hasn't fared well in two starts at Shea, going 0-1 while allowing nine runs and 17 hits while striking out 14 in 9 2-3 innings.

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