Mike Pelfrey’s return to the Mets’ starting rotation has been mostly successful so far, with the former Wichita State standout staked to a 5-1 lead through 4 1/2 innings. Last night, Johan Santana whiffed ten while allow just one run and 3 hits in the Mets’ 4-3 defeat of the Nationals, an occasion that afforded the hosts’ public relations department yet another opportunity to talk their way out of a jam, as Newsday’s David Lennon explains.

Johan Santana’s 10 strikeouts Friday nearly got three graduate students from Syosset kicked out of Citi Field for posting K cards on the leftfield facade.

Santana was up to six by the middle of the third inning when Keith Heller, Ryan Krochak and Larry Ziegelbaum said they were told by security to remove the white signs with Ks made of duct tape because they were blocking an electronic ribbon board. When the trio asked if they could move the signs away from the scoreboard, they said their request was refused and the signs were confiscated by the security officers.

“People were yelling at them [security], telling them they were ruining a tradition,” Ziegelbaum said. “Everyone was supporting it.”

Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz explained that Citi Field does not have a policy against signs of any kind, but in this instance, they were blocking the ribbon board.

“They were afraid the signs would damage the board,” Horwitz said.