SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 18: Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the New York Mets at AT&T Park on July 18 2010 in San Francisco California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Giants Can't Get Sweep Against Mets, Lose Game Four 4-3

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Game Four Recap: Giants Lose Close One, Still Take Series

San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - Ike Davis hit an RBI double with two outs in the top of the 10th inning, and the New York Mets beat San Francisco, 4-3, to salvage the finale of a four-game series at AT&T Park.

The Giants erased a two-run deficit in the ninth on a pinch-hit single by Travis Ishikawa, and nearly completed the sweep in walk-off fashion if not for a blown call by home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi that prolonged the contest.

In the 10th, Davis, who stroked an RBI double in the eighth to give New York a 3-1 lead, followed a two-out single by Jason Bay off Brian Wilson with a drive off the towering wall in right-center field.

Despite blowing the save, Francisco Rodriguez returned to the mound for New York and worked out of a jam in the bottom of the 10th to end the Giants' season-high five-game win streak.

Check back later for a series recap.


Final Game Preview: Sanchez Up, Needs To Provide Sweep

(Sports Network) - New York Mets ace Johan Santana has allowed only one run through his last three starts and hopes to continue that stingy trend today in the finale of a four-game set against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.

Santana is 2-0 with a microscopic 0.39 earned run average in his past three starts and is coming off his second straight scoreless outing. After going the distance for a three-hitter on July 6 versus Cincinnati, the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner fired seven shutout frames in a 3-0 victory over Atlanta last Sunday. He has struck out at least five batters in his previous three starts and improved to 7-5 in 19 outings this season.

The left-hander, who is just 1-2 in nine away appearances in 2010, squared off with San Francisco in a 5-4 win back on May 8 at Citi Field. Santana did not record a decision that day and was reached for four runs and eight hits with six K's over 7 2/3 innings. In six career games (5 starts) against the Giants, Santana is 2-0 with a 3.89 ERA.

In order for New York to avoid a four-game sweep, it will need a strong performance from Santana after Hisanori Takahashi's brutal effort in Saturday's 8-4 loss. Takahashi was ripped for six runs and seven hits in only 2 2/3 innings of work and Raul Valdes allowed two runs in relief.

"He's given up a number of runs in bunches," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said of Takahashi. "Those things are sometimes difficult to defend or overcome. We have to sit down and evaluate it, look at it, and discuss it. And we'll try to make the best decision for the team."

Ike Davis had a big day in defeat, going 2-for-4 with a pair of homers and three RBI, while David Wright drove in the other run for the Mets, who have dropped six of their last seven contests and are now five games behind Atlanta for the NL East lead. Philly moved up to 4 1/2 games off the pace.

The Mets are winless (0-3) on their 11-game road trip against the Giants, Diamondbacks and Dodgers. They are not expected to have shortstop Jose Reyes back in the lineup today since he's still bothered by an oblique strain.

San Francisco has won a season high five straight games and has the brooms ready for a sweep this afternoon. Andres Torres clubbed a three-run homer during a five-run second inning and Buster Posey went deep in the win, the Giants' ninth in the past 10 games.

"He has a great swing up there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Posey. "I said this earlier: his bat stays in the zone quite a while. That's what enables him to get that carry on the ball to right-center or right field like he does."

Pablo Sandoval ended 3-for-4 with three RBI for the Giants, who are 3 1/2 games behind San Diego for the NL West lead. Giants starter Matt Cain went seven innings and was charged with two runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Brian Wilson got the final out of the game for his 25th save and pushed his team a season-high nine games above .500.

The last time the Giants swept the Mets in four games was from May 1-4 of the 2000 campaign by the Bay.

Taking the mound for the 19th time this season for San Francisco will be Jonathan Sanchez, who is 7-6 with a 3.47 ERA. He has won five of his last seven decisions, but did not factor in the outcome of a 10-5 win at Washington on July 10. He allowed five runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings that day.

Sanchez, who hasn't made it past the sixth inning in each of his last five trips to the bump, owns a decent 5-3 mark in nine home starts this season. He faced the Mets in a 6-4 road defeat on May 7 and posted a no-decision after permitting four runs in seven frames.

The lefty is 2-1 with a 4.18 ERA in seven career games (5 starts) against the Mets, who had won in nine of their last 12 stops at AT&T Park before losing the first three portions of this series.


Recap: Giants Win 8-4 Over Mets In Game Three

San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - Pablo Sandoval went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored as the San Francisco Giants took an 8-4 decision over the New York Mets in the third of a four-game set.

Buster Posey hit a solo home run and scored twice while Andres Torres added a three-run home run for the Giants, who have won five straight and nine of their last 10. Matt Cain (7-8) went seven innings in the start and was charged with two runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

Ike Davis hit a two-run homer and a solo homer while David Wright drove the other run in for the Mets, who have dropped six of seven. Hisanori Takahashi (7-4) was tagged for six runs on seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings of work.

The Giants struck in the second inning to the tune of five runs. Posey doubled to leadoff and Pat Burrell followed with a walk. Consecutive RBI singles from Juan Uribe and Sandoval brought home two runs and Torres later blasted a pitch out of the park over the left field wall for a 5-0 lead.

Posey hit a solo homer in the third to extend San Francisco's lead to 6-0.

Cain limited the Mets to just two hits and a walk over the first six innings, but Carlos Beltran led off the seventh with a triple and Davis followed with a homer to right to make it a 6-2 game.

The Giants, though, got the runs back in the bottom of the seventh on a two- run double from Sandoval for an 8-2 lead.

A sacrifice fly off the bat of Wright in the eighth scored Josh Thole to get the Mets to within five runs.

Davis led off the ninth with a solo home run over the wall in center to account for the final score.

Cain snapped a five-start winless streak during which he went 0-4...San Fran has taken four of six against New York this season...Johan Santana takes the mound for the Mets in the series finale on Sunday and will be opposed by Jonathan Sanchez.


Game Three Preview: Matt Cain Needs To Rebound

(Sports Network) - The New York Mets are hoping something will give when they take on the San Francisco Giants Saturday night in the third installment of a four-game set at AT&T Park.

New York has lost the first two games of this set and has been shut out twice to start an 11-game road trip out west. After losing 2-0 in Thursday's series opener, the Mets suffered a 1-0 loss last night and wasted a strong effort from starter Jon Niese. Niese gave up only a run on six hits and three walks through six innings, and struck out four.

Ruben Tejada, David Wright and Carlos Beltran provided the three hits for the Mets, who have lost five of six and remain five games behind Atlanta for the National League East lead. Beltran has a hit in each of his first two games since returning from offseason knee surgery.

"We have to be a little bit more consistent offensively," said Mets manager Jerry Manuel. "We got a good pitching performance from Jon Niese and we played good defense."

The Mets are also 1 1/2 games off the lead in the NL Wild Card race and will also visit Arizona and Los Angeles on the current trek.

Mike Pelfrey was slated to pitch today for New York, but was pushed back until Monday because of stiffness in his neck. Hisanori Takahashi is slated to take the mound instead and is 7-3 with a 4.15 ERA in 25 games (9 starts) this season. The rookie left-hander is coming off a no-decision on July 10 in a 4-0 loss versus Atlanta, as he threw three shutout innings.

Takahashi was credited with a win over the Giants back on May 8 in a 5-4 verdict, when he delivered a scoreless inning and two strikeouts.

San Francisco has won four straight and eight of its last nine games, and received a great outing from Barry Zito last night. The lefty threw eight shutout innings and allowed two hits with a pair of walks and 10 K's. Brian Wilson struck out two and gave up a hit in the ninth for his 24th save.

"These are the type of games you have to win if you think you're a contender," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

The Giants are tied with the Dodgers at 3 1/2 games behind San Diego for NL West bragging rights and even with both LA and St. Louis at a half-game behind the pace in the wild card standings.

It's been a streaky season for Giants starter Matt Cain, who will try to put the brakes on another winless streak when he takes the mound Saturday night. Before winning four straight starts from May 28-June 13 Cain was riding a personal three-game losing streak.

Now Cain is back on a losing binge, going 0-4 with a 7.45 earned run average in his last five trips to the mound -- all San Francisco losses. The trend continued in an 8-1 loss at Washington on July 9, when Cain gave up eight runs -- seven earned -- and 11 hits over 6 2/3 innings. The loss dropped him to 6-8 in 18 starts and raised his ERA from 2.98 to 3.34.

The bulky right-hander will try to push his career mark against the Mets over the .500 mark tonight. In seven career meetings (all starts) with New York, Cain is 3-3 with a 4.26 ERA.

The Mets had won in nine of their last 12 stops at AT&T Park before losing the first two portions of this series by the Bay.


Game Two Preview: Zito Looks For Comfort At Home

(Sports Network) - How the New York Mets fare on the road over the season's second half could ultimately determine the team's postseason fate. After being shut out in the opener of an important West Coast swing on Thursday, Jerry Manuel's squad will attempt to bounce back in tonight's matchup with the surging San Francisco Giants from AT&T Park.

The Mets put themselves squarely in the National League playoff mix by generating a 48-40 record at the All-Star break, but most of that success has come in their own ballpark. New York has gone an outstanding 30-16 at Citi Field thus far in 2010, but is just 18-25 on the road for the year.

New York is in the midst of an 11-game trip against NL West foes and began the trek on a down note, falling 2-0 to the Giants and All-Star Tim Lincecum on Thursday.

Lincecum (10-4) scattered six hits -- all singles -- and walked just one batter in registering his first complete game of the season and fourth career shutout. The two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award honoree was in control from the outset and finished the night throwing 77 of his 110 pitches for strikes.

"The best thing was he was commanding his fastball," Giants catcher Buster Posey said of Lincecum. "He threw his fastballs and got ahead. When he needed to go to his changeup or the out pitch, he did a good job of keeping it down."

Lincecum was able to outduel Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (6-3), who was reached for only one run on five hits over his seven innings of work. The right-hander gave up a two-out double to Pablo Sandoval that plated Posey in the bottom of the second.

Posey later knocked in an insurance run and went 2-for-4 at the plate to extend his hitting streak to nine games. The rookie standout is batting a scorching .514 (18-for-35) with five homers and 15 RBI during the tear, which has raised his season average to .355.

Aaron Rowand also finished 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Giants, winners of seven of their past eight contests. Thursday's triumph moved the club within 1 1/2 games of Colorado's lead in the NL Wild Card race and 3 1/2 of idle San Diego for first place in the West Division.

The Mets, who have now dropped four of five, are also 1 1/2 games off the pace in the Wild Card chase and fell to five games back of NL East-leading Atlanta after the Braves topped Milwaukee on Thursday.

New York did have the services of center fielder Carlos Beltran for the first time this season in last night's loss, with the five-time All-Star going 1- for-4 in his long-awaited return from offseason knee surgery.

"I thought he had some good at-bats," said Manuel of Beltran. "For the first time facing a major league pitcher of that stature, I thought he had some pretty good [at-bats]."

Shortstop Jose Reyes sat out a second straight contest for New York due to an oblique strain, however, and it's uncertain as to whether the speedy leadoff hitter will be able to play this evening as well.

Beltran and his Mets teammates will be taking their swings off another former Cy Young recipient tonight, with Barry Zito slated to take the mound for San Francisco. The accomplished left-hander turned in a respectable first half, producing a 7-4 record and a 3.76 earned run average in 18 starts, but has been in a bit of a rut over the season's past month.

Zito went 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA in his final five starts before the break and labored through 4 2/3 innings during a July 8 assignment at Milwaukee, walking six Brewers and allowing two runs while not registering a decision. Five days earlier, the veteran hurler was tagged for six runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings by division-rival Colorado.

A return to the friendly confines of AT&T Park could get Zito back on track, considering he's 5-1 with an excellent 2.83 ERA in nine home starts this season and has held the opposition to a .226 average in those games.

The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner is 2-2 with a 4.28 ERA in five lifetime meetings with the Mets.

New York counters with youngster Jonathan Niese, who helped put his team into contention by delivering an impressive first 2 1/2 months of the season. The rookie southpaw went 6-3 with a 3.61 ERA in his 15 first-half starts, with the Mets having come out on top in 10 of those appearances.

Niese did have a string of five consecutive winning decisions end in his most recent start, although he pitched quite well in that July 7 encounter with Cincinnati. The 23-year-old lasted 7 2/3 innings and struck out eight batters while holding the Reds to three runs in a 3-1 loss.

Prior to that showing, Niese had yielded a mere one run over a combined 13 innings in back-to-back victories over Minnesota and Washington on June 27 and July 2, respectively.

This will be the first career start against the Giants for Niese, who's 3-1 with a 4.24 ERA in six road tests this season.

The Mets had won in nine of their last 12 stops at AT&T Park prior to last night's outcome and took three of four bouts between these teams in San Francisco last season. New York also won two of three games from the Giants at Citi Field back in May.


Game One: Lincecum Shuts Out Mets To The Tune Of 2-0

San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - Tim Lincecum shut out the Mets, becoming the second-fastest Giants pitcher to win 50 games, as San Francisco posted a 2-0 victory in the opener of a four-game set at AT&T Park.

It took the hard-throwing right-hander 109 games to reach the 50-win plateau, second in club annuals to Juan Marichal, who accomplished the feat in 97 pitching appearances.

Lincecum (10-4) scattered six hits with five strikeouts and one walk on his 26th birthday. Buster Posey went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI and Pablo Sandoval drove in a run for the Giants, who have won three straight and seven of eight overall.

R.A. Dickey (6-3) was stellar in defeat, yielding just the one run on five hits with three strikeouts and one walk over seven frames.

Carlos Beltran returned to the lineup, batted in the cleanup spot and finished 1-for-4. He returned from the 60-day disabled list and played his first game of the 2010 season after undergoing knee surgery back in January. No Met had more than one hit as the club lost for the fourth time in five games.

The Giants pushed across a run in the second as Posey led off with a single to right, moved to second on a groundout, scampered to third on a wild pitch and walked home on Sandoval's two-out double.

New York threatened in the fifth as Jason Bay walked and Josh Thole singled to center. After a Ruben Tejada flyout, Dickey moved both runners on a sacrifice bunt, but Angel Pagan skied a shallow fly ball to right to end the threat.

The Giants tried to make something happen on the basepaths in the home sixth as Aubrey Huff singled and Posey followed with a base hit to left. Huff tried to take third on the play, but overslid the bag and David Wright applied the tag for the out to snuff out the threat.

San Francisco added an insurance run in the eighth as Lincecum helped himself with a single before Aaron Rowand's base hit. Freddy Sanchez's bunt was not soft enough, allowing the Mets to erase the pitcher running to third. Huff walked to load the bases and new pitcher Bobby Parnell induced a slow roller to first off the bat of Posey. It was so slow, however, that Ike Davis' throw home to nab Rowand was late for a 2-0 game.

Lincecum last pitched on July 7, when he struck out 10 batters and gave up one run in seven sharp innings during a victory over Milwaukee. The right-hander picked up his first victory against the Mets...New York won two-of-three meetings with the Giants may in early May...The Giants improved to 13-6 versus the National League East...Lincecum threw his seventh career complete game and fourth career shutout.

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