May 27, 2024
Michael Conforto sparks 5th-inning rally as Giants extend Mets losing streak to 3

Michael Conforto sparks 5th-inning rally as Giants extend Mets losing streak to 3

SAN FRANCISCO — Almost a decade ago, the Mets drafted outfielder Michael Conforto with the hope that someday he would break up no-hitters and start rallies against elite pitchers.

Conforto did that Tuesday night at Oracle Park, but he did it against the Mets, breaking up Luis Severino’s no-hit bid in the fifth inning to help the San Francisco Giants power past the Mets, 5-1.

It was the third straight loss for the Mets (12-11) and snapped a streak of five straight series wins.

Severino was perfect through four innings, going toe-to-toe with Giants’ right-hander Logan Webb. It was excellent pitching from both sides.

Conforto ended the duel by sparking a fifth-inning rally that resulted in three runs off soft contact balls that found holes.

“A couple ground balls, a couple bloopers,” Severino said. “But that’s part of the game. But I made great pitches and if I continue to do that, things will go my way.”

Conforto flared one to shallow left field to lead off the fifth. Jeff McNeil came sprinting in, nearly getting to the ball in time. But then Severino gave up another single to Matt Chapman before getting an out, and Thairo Estrada poked a single through the left side to score Conforto.

Mike Yastrzemski drove home two with a sinking liner to shallow center field, putting the Giants (12-13) up 3-0.

Severino (2-2)  gave up three earned runs on five hits, four of which came in the fifth inning, and struck out five in the loss. It was encouraging that he made it through six innings and didn’t allow a walk, giving an overtaxed bullpen a bit of a reprieve.

“Overall, I thought his stuff was really good today,” manager Carlos Mendoza said. “Some weak contact; they were able to string some hits together… I thought it was a good outing.”

Less encouraging: Right-hander Drew Smith gave up two earned runs in the seventh. Through nine innings pitched this year, Smith had allowed only one earned run. It was Yastrzemski who got to him in the seventh.

Estrada drove a 1-1 fastball to Triples Alley to lead off the inning. Yastrzemski singled to right and Estrada came home from third easily. A wild pitch put Yastrzemski on second, in position to score on a two-out double by Jorge Soler.

What Conforto started, Webb (3-1) ended.

With lefties hitting .340 against Webb this season, the Mets stacked the lineup with six of them, plus switch-hitter Francisco Lindor. They had left-handed hitters 5-9, but Webb effectively neutralized them using mostly sinkers and changeups while mixing in some two-seam fastballs. He scattered six hits over eight innings, three of which were hit by Starling Marte.

“He’s a tough pitcher,” Marte said through a translator. “He’s one of those pitchers who has a lot of pitches that have a lot of movement and come at different angles, so whenever he releases them, they all look like strikes. You kind of have to go in there and focus and really hope that when you swing, it’s a ball that it’s located where you can take advantage.”

Brandon Nimmo worked a walk with two outs and Webb nearing 100 pitches in the eighth inning. Marte singled to left, promoting a meeting on the mound. Lindor, batting from the left side, got two changeups and swung on the second, chopping it to LaMonte Wade Jr. at first.

Wade easily flipped the ball to Webb for the out. The right-hander walked off the field to an ovation from fans.

Submariner Tyler Rogers gave up a run in the ninth and put runners on the corners with one out, which forced the Giants to bring in closer Camilo Doval for the second night in a row. If you’re looking for some positives, Doval likely won’t be available for the series finale on Wednesday.

Still, Doval retired Joey Wendle and Omar Narvaez in order. Mendoza opted not to pinch-hit for either of them, preferring to keep left-handed hitters against Doval.

“I like some of the at-bats that we’re taking,” Mendoza said. “Marte today had some really good at-bats and speed. But you’ve got to give credit to the pitchers.”

The Mets will try to salvage the series Wednesday afternoon with former Giants left-hander Sean Manaea facing reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell to conclude the six-game California road trip.

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