(Sports Network) - The San Francisco Giants reverted back to their losing ways in last night's loss to the New York Mets, but can still escape with a series split this afternoon in the finale of a four-game set at AT&T Park.
The Giants ended a five-game losing streak by evening this series on Tuesday, but dropped a 2-1 decision last night. Matt Cain was saddled with the loss and gave up two runs early in the game, lasting five innings to fall to 10-4 on the year.
"It's a tough one to lose because we dodged bullets all night," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We didn't do much with the bats or created a lot of chances either."
Buster Posey's home run in the sixth inning was all the offense San Francisco could produce. The club still owns a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West standings. Hunter Pence, acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his Giants debut.
San Francisco will kick off a seven-game road trip this weekend against Colorado and St. Louis, and is slated to send Barry Zito to the mound today. Zito had won three of his past four decisions until the Dodgers landed on the schedule Saturday in a 10-0 loss. He allowed four runs in 5 1/3 frames of a 10-0 setback, falling to 8-7 in 20 starts and raising his ERA to 3.89.
Zito, a left-hander and 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with Oakland, did not factor in the outcome of a 4-3 win at New York on April 20, when he tossed five innings of two-run ball. Zito, who sports a 4-4 mark in 10 home starts this season, is 3-2 with a 3.35 ERA in seven career starts against the Mets.
The Mets have won three of four games since losing 14 of its previous 16 games, and haven't won a series since taking two of three matchups with Philadelphia July 3-5.
Josh Thole scored on a fielder's choice in the second inning to give the Mets the lead for good and Ruben Tejada homered in the first inning. Tejada and David Wright both had three hits for the Mets, who received seven innings of one-run ball from Jon Niese.
"He threw all his pitches for strikes. I thought his changeup was good tonight. After the first inning he was outstanding," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Niese, who halted a four-start winless streak.
Meanwhile, Tejada had gone more than 600 at-bats since his only other career homer, which came Sept. 5, 2010 at Wrigley Field. Wright was not in the starting lineup against Tim Lincecum on Tuesday and made the right choice to face Cain. The All-Star third baseman is batting .333 with 16 homers, 71 RBI and a .424 on-base percentage. He is only 4-for-15 (.267) with three strikeouts and five walks against Zito.
Chris Young will try to get off the schneid when he takes the mound for the Mets this afternoon and is 0-4 with a 6.00 earned run average in his previous five starts. Young lasted only four innings in a 6-3 loss at Arizona on Saturday and allowed six runs and seven hits to fall to 2-5 in 10 starts with a 4.58 earned run average.
Young had allowed just two runs in each of his past two outings before the Diamondbacks sent him packing early. The right-hander has given up a home run in five straight starts (6 total) and is 2-3 in six road assignments this season. Young, a former Padre, will make his 12th career start against the Giants and is 3-4 with a 3.03 ERA through the first 11.
San Francisco is 4-3 against the Mets this season and won four of six matchups between the teams a year ago. New York hasn't won a series against the Giants since taking five of eight encounters back in 2009.