SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The New York Mets enjoyed nothing more than quieting baseball’s most boisterous, bold and, certainly, bearded closer.
All it took was one swing.
Pinch-hitter Scott Hairston hit a tiebreaking home run off All-Star Brian Wilson in the ninth inning, leading the Mets past the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Friday night.
Hairston admitted he was more concerned with staying focused on the pitch than the closer’s bushy, black beard. He even joked that Wilson’s off-the-field antics often crack him up and the chance to face him was a moment he relished.
“When the music comes on and he comes in and the fans get excited, as a player, you’re adrenaline kicks in,” Hairston said. “I love being in that situation. It’s a lot of fun.”
Hairston opened the ninth by sending a full-count pitch from Wilson (6-2) over the wall in left field for his fourth home run of the season. Carlos Beltran and Nick Evans added RBIs in the inning to help New York to its fifth win in six games.
Mets manager Terry Collins couldn’t recall a more raucous celebration in the dugout this season than after Hairston’s homer. With injuries sidelining stars Jose Reyes and David Wright, perhaps they had good reason to run wild.
“I don’t think there’s any question we’re exceeding expectations,” Collins said.
Nate Schierholtz tied the score in the sixth with a solo shot into McCovey Cove and drove in San Francisco’s only other run with a sacrifice fly.
Reliever Pedro Beato (2-1) earned the win, and Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth for his 23rd save.
Wilson kept his cool and refrained from tossing a water cooler or smashing it with a baseball bat, as he did when he blew a save at Detroit last week and went into meltdown mode. He was charged with two runs and only recorded one out in his third straight day of work.
“Sure he gives up the home run and people think he should have had a day (off),” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “If he wasn’t on his third day, I would have let him stay out there and try to pitch his way out of it.”
The victory was a big boost for a Mets team in the midst of what could be a record of facing seven straight All-Star starters.
New York knuckleballer R.A. Dickey overcame tightness in his left buttocks and a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his right foot to match Ryan Vogelsong, who was the second All-Star starting pitcher to face the Mets in as many days. Both starters allowed two runs in seven innings.
Even the few opportunities were a struggle.
After Beltran doubled leading off the fourth, Vogelsong walked the bases loaded with one out. The right-hander rebounded to get Josh Thole to ground into an inning-ending double play, and the Giants didn’t waste the momentum.
Pablo Sandoval extended his career-best hitting streak to 19 games with a double off the wall in left to start the fourth. He scored from third on Schierholtz’s sacrifice fly to center to give San Francisco a 1-0 lead.
New York didn’t take long to answer.
Angel Pagan smacked a 1-0 pitch from Vogelsong over the brick wall in right to put the Mets ahead 2-1 in the fifth. The home run was Pagan’s third this season, and only the second Vogelsong has given up at home.
“I was not happy with the way I threw,” Vogelsong said. “I feel fortunate getting out of it having allowed just two runs. I’m a little off right now.”
San Francisco kept pace with the long ball when Schierholtz hit his first career home run into McCovey Cove to tie the score at 2 in the sixth. The homer was only the second splash shot of the season and 57th ever by a Giants player, with 35 belonging to all-time home run king Barry Bonds.
That was enough to keep Vogelsong’s unbeaten streak intact.
The journeyman turned ace hasn’t lost since allowing one earned run in a 3-1 loss to Florida on May 26. He struck out two, walked five and lowered his ERA to 2.17 — fourth-best in the majors — in his final start before his first All-Star appearance.
NOTES: Mets 1B Ike Davis exercised on a treadmill the last two days and felt good, Collins said. Davis will decide in the next week or so whether to try to return or have season-ending surgery to repair cartilage damage in his left ankle, which has sidelined him since May 11. …. Announcers Al Michaels and Bob Costas called a portion of the game for the MLB Network and made appearances on the Mets and Giants broadcasts. It was the first time Michaels called a major league game since 1995.
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: http://www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.