NEW YORK -- Steven Matz has struggled on the mound for a month now, due to the left elbow strain that landed him on the 10-day disabled list at the beginning of August. The southpaw had a rusty return against the Phillies in his last start but battled back at
NEW YORK -- Steven Matz has struggled on the mound for a month now, due to the left elbow strain that landed him on the 10-day disabled list at the beginning of August. The southpaw had a rusty return against the Phillies in his last start but battled back at Citi Field on Tuesday to throw 87 pitches in the Mets' 6-3 win over the Giants -- the most he has thrown since July 26.
Matz went five innings, giving up two hits, two runs and striking out five against one walk. But it looked like it would be another rocky outing at first. Matz started the game by walking Andrew McCutchen on a 3-2 count. Two batters later, Evan Longoria launched his 13th homer of the season to give the Giants an early 2-0 lead.
"I think it riled him up a little bit, but he was able to come into the dugout, settle down in between innings. I saw that focus, that routine in between innings, in between pitches, and I saw a more relaxed pitcher out there than I had seen recently," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "When he can just relax and let his movement work and be free and easy, he's going to have success, and that's what we saw maybe those last four innings that we hadn't seen the previous few starts and maybe the first inning today."
Matz did settle in, retiring the next 12 batters before giving up his second and final hit of the night, a double to Gorkys Hernandez in the fifth. He was replaced for the sixth by Corey Oswalt, who allowed just one hit in three shutout innings of relief and was the winning beneficiary of the Mets' late rally.
Before the game on Tuesday, Callaway talked about the future of Oswalt as a starter for the Mets. For now, they plan to keep Oswalt up in the Majors and use him as much as possible, both as a spot starter and out of the bullpen.
"He's a guy that goes out and makes pitches, whether he starts or relieves," Callaway said. "We've seen him I think twice out of the 'pen now, and he's had two really good, lengthy outings, and has been very effective on very few pitches, so it has been nice to know that we have guys like he and [Seth] Lugo that can step in the rotation, can step in the bullpen -- and [Robert] Gsellman."
While Oswalt was dealing zeros, Jeff McNeil, who finished 4-for-4 with two runs scored, got the Mets' comeback started in the 7th inning with a single up the middle. Wilmer Flores moved him to third with a double and Michael Conforto drove him in with a sacrifice fly. Austin Jackson then drove in Flores with an RBI single to left field.
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The offense kept things going in the 8th inning when Jose Reyes led off with a triple before McNeil doubled to drive in the go-ahead run. The insurance runs came two batters later, when Conforto crushed a three-run home run to left-center field, giving the Mets a four-run cushion. Conforto finished the night with four RBIs.
Lugo allowed one run on two hits in the ninth to close out the victory.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After Reyes led off the eighth with a triple, Giants reliever Tony Watson retired the next two batters on a shallow flyout and a strikeout. With Reyes still on third, McNeil stepped up to the plate. He put the barrel to the ball and roped the go-ahead double to left field, giving him his 29th hit in his first 27 career games.
"He's a multi-dimensional hitter that can do a lot of things with the bat, and it shows," Callaway said. "Guys like him get the job done because they can manipulate the barrel really well."
McNeil is the first Mets player with two four-hit games within his first 27 career games. The first came on Aug. 4, against the Braves.
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Reyes prevented a run in the seventh inning by diving to rob Hernandez on a line drive to his left.
HE SAID IT
"Whatever the team needs right now, whether that be starting, spot starting, bullpen, I just want to go out there and get the guys out basically. But I feel good where I'm at right now." -- Oswalt
Noah Syndergaard, who has posted a 4.85 ERA in an inconsistent August, looks to get back to his "Thor-like" ways against the Giants on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field. The last time Syndergaard started against the Giants was the 2016 National League Wild Card Game, when the ace went seven scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts in the season-ending loss. He will take the mound against righty Casey Kelly.
Erin Fish is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.