SAN FRANCISCO — The New York Mets missed multiple opportunities to build a bigger lead and hold it.
The San Francisco Giants took advantage of the chances they had when it mattered most.
Anthony Recker had a crucial misplay behind the plate in the ninth inning and Jenrry Mejia blew his first save of the season as the Mets lost their fifth straight game, 5-4 at San Francisco on the night of June 7.
“We’re not happy with what’s happened but we’ve been in all the games,” Mets Manager Terry Collins said. “All it takes is a base hit here or there to turn things around.”
Former Mets outfielder Angel Pagan had three singles, two RBIs and got on base all five times. He reached leading off the ninth when Recker dropped the third strike and his throw pulled Lucas Duda off first base. Collins challenged the play but lost.
Hunter Pence hit a tying double that scored Pagan and advanced to third on Buster Posey’s deep fly to left-center. After Mejia (4-3) intentionally walked Pablo Sandoval, Michael Morse sent a game-winning single to deep right and was mobbed by teammates before he reached second.
“The ball got away from me a little farther than I would have liked,” Recker said of the dropped strikeout. “I didn’t have to rush, but I rushed more than I should have.”
Jeremy Affeldt (2-1) tossed one scoreless inning to help the Giants (41-21) extend baseball’s best record.
Bartolo Colon gave up three runs — one earned — and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings for the Mets. The 41-year-old, who spent the past two seasons across the bay in Oakland, struck out four and walked two.
Tim Hudson, who began the game with a majors-best 1.75 ERA, allowed season highs of nine hits and three runs. Even with the tough outing, Hudson (1.97 ERA) is the first pitcher in San Francisco history with an ERA below 2.00 through his first 12 starts with the team.
The Mets grabbed leads of 3-0 and 4-1, but stranded 12 runners to help Hudson’s team rally. “At this level you can’t give good teams more than three outs, if you do, you are going to get burned by it,” Collins said.
The Mets ended Hudson’s scoreless streak at 16 consecutive innings in the second, when Duda doubled and scored on Recker’s single. In the third, Duda broke his bat hitting an RBI single off the wall in right and Recker drove in another run to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.
The Mets might have had more if not for a baserunning blunder. Ruben Tejada was tagged out between second and third after Duda stopped at third and Recker ran to second.
With the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth, Posey grounded into a double play to score San Francisco’s first run. Colon then got Sandoval to fly out.
New York extended its lead to 4-1 on a wild pitch by George Kontos in the sixth, but couldn’t overcome an error by third baseman David Wright in the bottom of the inning.
Wright fielded a grounder and misfired to second trying to get the lead runner with two outs. Pagan followed with a two-run single to bring the Giants within 4-3 and chase Colon.
Pence’s single loaded the bases for Posey again, but Jeurys Familia struck out Posey on a sinking fastball clocked at 96 mph.
“We were in control of the game most of the way,” Recker said. “And we let them back in it and they took advantage of it.”
(ANTONIO GONZALEZ, AP Sports Writer)