(CNN) -- New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana tossed the first no-hitter in the franchise's history Friday night in an 8-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Mets' hometown crowd at Citi Field erupted after Santana rallied from a 3-0 count to strike out Cardinals third baseman David Freese to end the game, and later when he was asked about making Mets' history.
"I'm very happy, and happy for you guys -- finally the first one," he told fans in an interview with SNY, which was covering the game.
Though he struck out eight batters, Santana wasn't flawless, walking five in the course of tossing 134 pitches, only 77 for strikes, against the reigning World Series champions.
And he got a few breaks -- including when the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran smacked a shot that appeared to hit the left-field chalk but was ruled foul, and when teammate Mike Baxter made a spectacular catch in left field in the seventh inning, slamming the wall so hard that he had to leave the game with an injured shoulder.
Santana's feat was the third no-hitter of the 2012 Major League Baseball season, following the Chicago White Sox's Philip Humber, who pitched a perfect game in April, and the Los Angeles Angels' Jered Weaver last month. It is the first no-hitter by a National League pitcher since the Phillies' Roy Halladay did it in the 2010 playoffs.
The Mets have had their fair share of standout pitchers. Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver, for instance, played with the club and went on to throw no-hitters -- seven for Ryan and one for Seaver -- with other teams.
Friday night's game means that only the San Diego Padres have never had a pitcher get through nine innings without allowing a hit.
Born in Venezuela, Santana won two Cy Young awards -- given to baseball's best pitcher -- in 2004 and 2006 while with the Minnesota Twins. He came to the Mets in 2008 and had three solid seasons, but he underwent shoulder surgery, missed all of 2011 and came into 2012 as a question mark.
Santana said Friday's game was his first no-hitter on any level.
"I don't even think I threw a no-hitter in video games," he told reporters. "This was the first time I had the opportunity."