SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Steven Matz has developed a sense for when his pitching mechanics are in order.
“When I’m going good, I can get in a good rhythm and just kind of keep going,” he said.
The 27-year-old left-hander was feeling it on Saturday.
Matz struck out a career-high 11 batters and the New York Mets went on to beat the San Francisco Giants 2-1 in 11 innings.
“That was something that (catcher Tomas) Nito and I were really on top of,” Matz said. “We just had a good rhythm going. He was putting down (signs) that I was wanting. It just worked out good.”
Wilmer Flores doubled to left off Giants reliever Hunter Strickland (3-4) to lead off the 11th. He went to third when Jay Bruce grounded out to second against the shift, and scored on Todd Frazier’s fly ball to left.
Jerry Blevins (2-2) pitched a scoreless 10th and Mets closer Robert Gsellman worked the 11th for his ninth save.
Brandon Nimmo made a diving catch in right field, robbing Austin Slater of a hit to end the game.
The Mets have won six of their last seven games at AT&T Park.
Slater was 2 for 5 and Evan Longoria homered for the Giants.
Longoria hit his 15th home run leading off the bottom of the fourth on a 2-1 sinker Matz left over the heart of the plate. Nido was 2 for 4 with an RBI double off Giants starter Derek Holland in the fifth.
Holland gave up one run in six innings of three-hit ball in which he walked three.
Matz gave up one run in seven innings of three-hit ball.
“It was definitely the best I’ve seen (Matz) all year,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.
After Longoria’s home run, the Mets held the Giants to one hit over the next eight innings.
They didn’t advance a runner into scoring position over that stretch until 35-year-old outfielder Hunter Pence, who reached on a one-out walk off Blevins in the 10th and stole second with Joe Panik up with two outs.
Blevins got Panik to fly out to left.
“We couldn’t mount anything offensively,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
“We needed somebody to come through. It’s tough to get this kind of pitching and we couldn’t find a way to scratch out another run for them.”
Mets starting pitchers over their last 13 games have combined for a 1.67 ERA (17 earned runs, 91 2/3 innings).
“I try to build off those guys,” Matz said. “You see Zack (Wheeler) and (Jacob deGrom) and what they’ve done recently, we kind of all build off each other I think so I think it does help when you see those guys go out there and dominate like they do. ”
The beleaguered Mets bullpen combined for four shutout innings of no-hit ball. Going into Saturday, Mets relievers were tagged for 26 earned runs in their last 11 innings, for a 21.27 ERA over that stretch.
Left-handed hitting infielder Jeff McNeil sat out of Saturday’s starting lineup against the left-handed Holland. Manager Mickey Callaway said he’ll rest other left-handed hitters during a stretch in which New York facs left-handed starters in three of its next four games. The Mets have faced 37 lefty starters, matching their 2017 total. They’re 15-22 vs. southpaw starters.
The Mets recalled right-handed pitchers Tim Peterson and Eric Hanhold from Triple-A Las Vegas. More call-ups are expected to trickle in. “It’s going to be a September with a lot of players and a lot of moving parts,” manager Mickey Callaway said. . The Giants recalled right-handed pitcher Ray Black from Triple-A Sacramento. More September call-ups are expected in time for a three-game series in Colorado, which starts Monday, manager Bruce Bochy said.
Giants: SS Brandon Crawford was out of the lineup for a second straight day with a sore left knee, among other minor ailments, manager Bruce Bochy said. Crawford’s playing status is day-to-day.
Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard (9-3, 3.51 ERA) posted a 4.74 ERA in August. RHP Chris Stratton (9-7, 4.99) is 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA in two starts since an August 21 callup up from Triple-A Sacramento.
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