Four-run first inning plenty for Wheeler, Mets

Four-run first inning plenty for Wheeler, Mets

NEW YORK -- More than anything, the Mets spent Tuesday trying to move beyond the Matt Harvey-fueled drama of the past few days. They wanted to shift their focus back to baseball. And the best way to do so, they knew, was to continue their recent winning ways.

With that as their mission, the Mets shot out to an early lead at Citi Field and never looked back in a 6-1 win over the Giants. Zack Wheeler pitched six effective innings against his old organization, Neil Walker hit a two-run triple and Michael Conforto homered, allowing the Mets to breeze to their eighth victory in 11 games.

Conforto's long solo homer

"There's been a lot of action around here," manager Terry Collins said. "To jump out to a big start like that I think kind of let everybody have a deep breath and really just concentrate on the game."

Most of the damage came against Giants starter Jeff Samardzija, who struck out nine in seven innings but allowed six runs on 10 hits. The Giants, who have lost five straight, clawed back on a Buster Posey solo homer in the fourth inning, but could not muster much else off Wheeler and a stout New York bullpen. Last in the National League in runs scored, the Giants collected merely two hits: Posey's homer and Samardzija's third-inning single.

"I can't explain why we're not hitting," manager Bruce Bochy said. "You can't force it. You keep thinking we're going to come out of it."

Posey's solo home run to left

The win boosted the Mets back to .500 for the first time since they were 8-8 on April 20.

"To get to the end goal, we had to get back to .500," Collins said. "We've got a lot of pieces that are missing. For these guys to continue to do what they do, it seems like year after year … that's why they're so much fun to be around. They just come out and play."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Four-run first: The Mets have made a habit of scoring in the first inning lately, plating at least one run in eight of their last nine games. They broke out for four in the first inning Tuesday, attacking Samardzija with five hits in a six-batter span. The biggest blow came when Giants left fielder Eduardo Nunez misplayed Walker's hit into a triple, allowing two runs to score. Jose Reyes and Rene Rivera then capped the inning with consecutive two-out RBI hits.

"With the way we're hitting," Bochy said, "it's hard to give up four in the first inning."

Walker's two-run triple

DRAFT DAY REVISITED
The Giants' first-round Draft pick in 2008, Posey (fifth overall), homered off the club's first-round pick in 2009, Wheeler (sixth overall), in the fourth inning to cut the Mets' margin to 5-1. Due in part to Wheeler's two-year absence recovering from Tommy John surgery, the two have rarely met since the Giants traded Wheeler to the Mets for Carlos Beltran in July 2011. But Wheeler had gotten the better of Posey until Tuesday's homer, holding him hitless in seven prior at-bats.

"By far," Wheeler said when asked if Tuesday's game was the best he's felt all season. "I still would like to go at least seven [innings], but I felt more comfortable out there today."

Wheeler's strong start

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The game was Collins' 1,004th as Mets manager, moving him into sole possession of second place on the franchise's all-time list. Only Davey Johnson (1,012) has managed more Mets games; Collins is in line to pass him on the team's next homestand.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Giants challenged a fourth-inning ruling in which Hunter Pence was declared out at first base. A replay review determined that the call on the field stands.

Pence out at first, call stands

WHAT'S NEXT
Giants: San Francisco will conclude both the series and its three-city, nine-game sojourn with Wednesday's 10:10 a.m. PT matinee against the Mets. Matt Cain, the Giants' scheduled starter, wants to prove that he's the pitcher who allowed three runs in a recent four-start span, not the one who yielded a career-high-tying nine runs in 3 1/3 innings last Friday in Cincinnati.

Mets: Tommy Milone, whom the Mets claimed off waivers last weekend, will make his debut in the Mets' 1:10 p.m. ET series finale against the Giants. The veteran left-hander owned a 6.43 ERA with the Brewers and was 1-0 with a 5.14 mark in three starts.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.