Sleepy Giants sunk by Mets in final frame

The Giants’ homecoming game Monday night morphed from a speedy toss-up into a slow-burning grind — all within an inning.

Fans were just settling in with giant trays of nachos as the sixth inning began about an hour after first pitch. The summer sun was just setting as the game finally slowed down in the seventh before chugging into a late-inning bullpen burner as the Mets pulled out a 3-0 ninth inning win, sending the Giants to their first .500 record since May 13.

This story has been updated with post-game quotes and additional material from the Giants clubhouse.

Chris Heston, who tossed his no-hitter against this Mets team back at Citi Field, left the game with nothing to show for a nice 7-1/3 inning shutout performance in which he allowed just three hits and four walks.

Heston has now tossed 16-1/3 of shutout ball to these Mets, and he noted his consistency:

“Wish I woulda not walked so many people and tightened the zone a little better but otherwise I though I did pretty well.”

Bochy applauded his starter:

“What a nice job he did. Got a hit. Did all he could and really, really great effort by him and had great stuff again. They saw him not too long ago and he still pitched very well against them.”

The Giants haven’t been able to close out close games, but this one never seemed in reach.

This one was skewed by an off-kilter Giants team that’s scrambling with a thin outfield and over-worked infield; Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford, newly crowned All-Stars, got to savor it on the bench tonight giving Joaquin Arias and Ehire Adrianza time at second and short.

The lineup, it seemed, was written around offensive inefficiency against a Mets pitching squad that had only allowed 16 runs over 98 innings.

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

Mets starter Jonathon Niese (W, 4-8, 3.58 ERA) stuffed the out of sync Giants lineup. Buster Posey went 0-for-4, snapping his 11-game hitting streak. Joaquin Arias and Heston got the Giants’ only hits: Arias had two, Heston one.

The Mets struck against a tired Giants bullpen; Sergio Romo (L, 0-4, 4.97 ERA) took the loss after giving up a leadoff single to Michael Cuddyer in the ninth and lobbing a 3-2 fastball to Kirk Nieuwenhuis that he smashed for a double, advancing Cuddyer to third.

Santiago Casilla took the mound to face Johnny Monell, who ripped a double to right field, clearing the bases and putting the Mets up 2-0. Lagares finished it off with an RBI single to score Monell.

The sight of a bullpen collapse is not as surprising of late. They’ve given up 12 runs this past week alone, unable to preserve close games. Casilla and Romo — historically bad against the Mets, giving up a combined career 20 runs — added three more tonight. Said Bochy if he was worried about his once-great bullpen:

“A little. I’ll be honest. A little. It’s been our strength and the bullpen is struggling a little bit. They got our setup guy, closer tonight and that’s something that we’ve been so good at and right now they’re having a hard time.”

Casilla hadn’t pitched since he took the loss July 1 in Miami, giving up three go-ahead runs in the ninth. Today, he couldn’t tighten the screws on the 3-2 pitch  to Monell that gave away the farm with a base open. Said Bochy:

“We definitely gotta tighten up this bullpen and get back to who we are.”

Notes

Bruce Bochy mentioned before today’s game that he wouldn’t be surprised to see Hunter Pence back in the lineup before the All-Star break. Said Pence has impressed in batting practice. When Pence returns, Pagan should be headed to the DL. He’s hitting just over .200 with just one RBI since colliding with the center field wall on June 25 and injuring his knee. He’s lost luster. He needs a break.


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