SAN FRANCISCO -- Johnny Monell hit a two-run double in the ninth inning and Jon Niese outdueled Chris Heston as the New York Mets beat the San Francisco Giants, 3-0, Monday night at AT&T Park.
Monell, a former Giants catcher who appeared in eight games for San Francisco in 2013, ripped a 3-2 slider to right field off Santiago Casilla to break a scoreless tie. Niese, who had allowed four earned runs in 21 career innings at AT&T Park coming into the game, fired eight scoreless frames, giving up three hits and two walks while striking out four.
"You face a team that you played with at one time and you're not with them anymore ... you always want to show them you made a mistake," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Monell. "There's always a little adrenaline."
Heston, who no-hit the Mets his last time facing them, matched Niese pitch-for-pitch until being pulled with one out in the eighth. He also singled in the third inning and has recorded a hit in seven of his last nine starts.
The Giants lost their seventh straight game to fall to .500 for the first time since May 13, while the Mets assured themselves at least a .500 record on their six-game West Coast trip.
"We're just kind of in one of those ruts right now," Heston said. "These guys are winners and they've proved it over the years, so it's just a matter of time before we all start clicking."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Mets break through: After Michael Cuddyer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis opened the ninth inning of a scoreless game with consecutive hits off Sergio Romo, the Giants turned to Casilla, who hadn't pitched since July 1 due to what manager Bruce Bochy called a "tired arm." Casilla promptly served up a two-run double to Monell, the first batter he faced, then an RBI single to Juan Lagares.
"I kind of knew he was going to throw a first-pitch slider, just because it's Casilla," Monell said. "I just took a bad swing on it. Then ... 3-2 he had to come over the plate; he didn't really want to walk the bases loaded with [Lucas] Duda on deck. I'm just fortunate enough to get a good pitch to hit and put it in the corner to drive in two."
Posey can't capitalize:Buster Posey, who entered Monday with two grand slams in his last 15 games, stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the sixth. The All-Star catcher rolled over the second pitch he saw, grounding out to third base and squandering the Giants' best chance to open the scoring.
Familia slams the door: Named to the National League's All-Star Game Final Vote ballot earlier in the day, Mets closer Jeurys Familia entered in the ninth. He took the three-run lead that Niese and New York's offense gave him and converted it into his 23rd save in 25 chances.
Bunting woes: The Giants' Joaquin Arias led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to bring Ryan Lollis, who had four career Major League at-bats under his belt, to the dish. Lollis popped up a bunt right to the third baseman, unable to move the runner to second base. All-Stars Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford were given the day off and available to hit, but neither got the chance.
"We're trying to get a bunt down," Bochy said. "Then I might have pinch-hit Panik. I wanted to get the winning run in scoring position."
"It's been a while. That felt good." -- Niese on winning for the first time since May 9
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The first seven Giants hitters combined to go 0-for-24 with two walks. San Francisco hit four balls to the outfield -- not including the three hits, which were all ground balls.
YOU LOOK FAMILIAR
Heston and Monell were roommates when the two played together for the Giants' Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels. Heston got his former catcher to ground out twice (once into a double play) and strike out in the three at-bats he faced him.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: Former closer Jenrry Mejia will return to the Mets for a 10:15 p.m. ET game Tuesday against the Giants. Mejia has been out since mid-April due to an 80-game performance-enhancing-substance suspension. He'll be available out of the bullpen in support of starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.
Giants:Matt Cain on Tuesday makes his second start of the season since returning from a flexor tendon strain. He gave up five runs in five innings in a 5-4 loss to Miami on Thursday. Cain hasn't beaten the Mets since 2011, going 0-2 with a 3.10 ERA in his last four outings against New York.