For one night, at least, the Mets have nothing to apologize for. They raced out early, then cruised home on the recovering right arm of Zack Wheeler.
The sun had barely begun to set over Citi Field when the Mets put their stamp on this game. After Wheeler retired the reeling Giants in order in the top of the first, white-hot T.J. Rivera laced a one out single to left. Jay Bruce then stroked a hustling double into right center. Neil Walker followed that with a looping base hit into left. Left fielder Eduardo Nunez tried to make a daring catch at his shoe tops, but completely whiffed on the ball. It ended up rolling all the way out to the middle of the warning track, Walker had a generously scored triple and the Mets had a 2-0 lead. After Curtis Granderson popped out first, Jose Reyes skulled a base hit up the middle. White-hot other Rivera, Rene, then bombed a long double off the wall in left center and the Mets led 4-0. In the bottom of the second, the Mets tacked on another on back-to-back doubles by Michael Conforto and T.J. Rivera. Once he got past all those potholes, Giants’ starter Jeff Samardzija settled down nicely. For someone who looked like he wouldn’t survive to the third inning, he lasted through the seventh, his only other blemish a long home run to dead center by Conforto.
For his part, Wheeler looked well on the road to wellness. He pitched six extremely strong innings, pulled by manager Terry Collins after 95 pitches. He gave up a bare two hits — one a home run by the ever dangerous Buster Posey — struck out four and walked four. Of the 18 outs he recorded, 12 came on ground balls; an encouraging sight indeed.
The Mets have now won eight of their last eleven, outscoring their opponents 76-71. Now, while that run differential may not sound particularly impressive, bear in mind that that total includes those three losses in which they gave up 9, 24 and 7 runs, respectively. They’ve also now won their fourth consecutive series.
So tomorrow they go for the sweep, with newcomer Tommy Milone facing the grizzled Matt Cain.