Zack Wheeler has been on an absolute roll for the better part of the past three months, and despite another dominant outing on Friday night, the righty was dealt a tough luck loss against the club that drafted him.
For most of the evening, Wheeler found himself locked in a tight pitcher’s duel with Giants’ lefty Andrew Suarez as both hurlers left the opposing offense befuddled basically all night. Both men tossed seven innings, and of the 14 combined frames the starters pitched, eight were 1-2-3 innings.
The Mets’ first real threat came in the seventh when Jeff McNeil was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Austin Jackson followed with a single. After a Wilmer Flores fly out scooted McNeil to third, up stepped Jay Bruce with a golden opportunity to break the ice in this one and push the game’s first run across. Instead, the veteran bounced into an inning-ending 3-6-3 double play to send the momentum back to the home dugout. And San Francisco would take advantage.
Brandon Belt pulled the first pitch of the home seventh down the right field line for a lead-off double, and he advanced to third base on a groundout. Young Chris Shaw, playing in his first Major League game, then got just enough of a fly ball to center to put the Giants up 1-0.
The Mets briefly threatened in the eighth when Brandon Nimmo doubled with one out against San Francisco’s Tony Watson, but the veteran southpaw was able to get Jose Reyes and Michael Conforto out to end the threat. And in the bottom of that inning, the Giants were able to easily put the game out of reach.
Young catcher Aramis Garcia crushed his first big league bomb to lead off the inning and, before the frame was over, Robert Gsellman, Daniel Zamora, Drew Smith and Jacob Rhame would combine to allow six Giants to score and put the Mets down 7-0. New York went down 1-2-3 in the ninth against Ty Blach to end a disappointing series opener for New York.
Up next, the Mets will send Steven Matz to the bump against fellow left hander Derek Holland later this afternoon.
Photo credit: Stan Szeto – USA Today Sports