Giants-Mets Preview

Though their series in Queens will be remembered for an historic pitching performance, the San Francisco Giants' continued offensive success has them in position for a sweep.

The Giants can do so for the first time there in 13 seasons by sending the New York Mets to a seventh defeat in nine games Thursday night.

One night after rookie Chris Heston's no-hitter, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik and Justin Maxwell homered off Matt Harvey to help San Francisco (34-26) to an 8-5 victory Wednesday.

"There's not many hitters that are going to handle the pitches they handled, so you give the hitter credit," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told MLB's official website. "That's great stuff that we're facing, but they fought. It's all about battling every at-bat."

The Giants have batted .321, scored 29 runs and averaged 12.2 hits to go 4-1 since hitting .237 and totaling 14 runs during a five-game skid.

They've managed to get hot despite Hunter Pence being sidelined since June 2, and it appears likely the outfielder is headed to the disabled list with a sore left wrist.

"We've stopped him from any activities to calm him down," Bochy said of Pence, who batted .282 with 13 RBIs in 18 games after making his season debut in mid-May because of a broken left forearm sustained during spring training.

The Giants also are without outfielder Gregor Blanco, who was put on the seven-day concussion DL.

Panik, though, is batting .407 with four home runs and 11 RBIs during a 14-game hitting streak. He's 8 for 14 with two homers in his last three against the Mets (31-29), who haven't been swept at home by San Francisco since May 2002 at Shea Stadium.

Looking to win a seventh straight decision versus New York, Tim Lincecum (6-3, 3.29 ERA) is 6-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 11 starts against the Mets. Though the right-hander hasn't pitched in Queens since 2012, he's 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last three there.

Lincecum is 2-1 in his previous three starts overall, allowing four runs in each outing. He lasted six innings in Friday's 5-4 victory at Philadelphia.

Lincecum has never faced Travis d'Arnaud, who went 1 for 4 with a RBI and two runs scored Wednesday in his first action since breaking a finger April 19. The third-year catcher is hitting .311 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in 12 games this year.

"It's a big boost for us," manager Terry Collins said. "If we can get him to where he's comfortable swinging the bat, he can help us, and in the middle of our lineup we need that."

Jonathon Niese (3-6, 4.43) went 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA in his first six starts but is 0-4 with a 7.96 ERA in the last five. However, he remains in the Mets' rotation after allowing three runs and striking out eight in six innings of a 7-2 loss at Arizona on Friday.

"It is a step in the right direction," he said. "I felt really good. I felt mechanically I was pretty sound. I made some good pitches."

Though Niese is 1-3 in six starts against the Giants, he has a 2.57 ERA.

Buster Posey is batting .455 with eight RBIs in his last eight games against the Mets and .368 with two doubles and a homer versus Niese.

Brandon Crawford is 4 for 9 against him.


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