Rookie Jeff McNeil’s mind swung into action even before his bat.
McNeill went 4 for 4 and hit a go-ahead double with two outs in the eighth inning that sent the New York Mets over the San Francisco Giants 6-3 Tuesday night.
McNeil became the first Mets player with a pair of four-hit performances within his first 27 games.
The 26-year-old McNeil singled in his first three at-bats, then gave the Mets a 3-2 lead by lining a first-pitch fastball from left-hander Tony Watson (4-5) down the left field line.
“I was kind of looking out over the plate. I faced him yesterday and he threw me three sliders, so I’ve seen that pitch I got a hit off it yesterday. So yeah, I was kind of expecting a fastball there and I got it,” McNeil said.
McNeil is hitting .326 since making his big league debut this season. He was batting a combined .342 at Triple-A and Double-A.
“He’s going and getting pitches, even good pitches and put the barrel on them,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “We’ve seen him go down and get one and hit it back over the middle. We’ve seen him reach out over the plate against a tough lefty in Watson and slap the ball down the left field line. So. he’s a multidimensional hitter than can do a lot of things with the bat and it shows.”
With the score tied at 2, Jose Reyes led off the Mets eighth a triple off the center field fence. Watson got pinch hitter Todd Frazier on a popout and struck out Amed Rosario before McNeil delivered.
Michael Conforto hit a three-run homer after the Giants intentionally walked Wilmer Flores and finished with four RBIs.
Evan Longoria hit a two-run homer for the Giants, who fell to 3-5 on an 11-game road trip - they’ve scored two runs or fewer five times. Longoria’s drive was San Francisco’s first homer since Andrew McCutchen connected last Wednesday.
The Giants dropped to 62-65 and are behind several teams for the second NL wild-card spot. They also may lose star catcher Buster Posey to season-ending hip surgery, though decision has been made yet.
“Truth of the matter is we have talked to him about it,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “So, we’ll continue to discuss it.”
Corey Oswalt (3-2) pitched three scoreless innings. Seth Lugo worked the ninth, giving up a run when Austin Slater hit an RBI single off right fielder Jose Bautista’s glove.
McNeil scored New York’s first run on a sacrifice fly by Conforto.
Steven Matz allowed two runs on five hits in five innings in his second start for the Mets since returning from a strained left forearm.
Matz also was robbed of a potential extra-base hit in the third by left fielder Hunter Pence. Matz hit a fly ball to the warning track and Pence made a basket catch as his hat fell off.
Giants starter Chris Stratton was called up from Triple-A and allowed two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
“Pitched very efficiently,” Bochy said. “That’s an area that he was trying to get better at and improve at and get back to where he was. And he did that. Threw a real nice game.”
Giants: Posey didn’t play after catching all 13 innings Monday night. ... RHP Dereck Rodriguez did some running and will participate in pitcher’s fielding practice Wednesday. He is set to be activated from the disabled list to start Friday against Texas.
Mets: 3B David Wright (shoulder, back) continued his rehab by going 1 for 4 and playing seven innings in the field for Class A St. Lucie. ... OF Jay Bruce (left hip) went 3 for 4 and played right field for St. Lucie.
Giants: RHP Casey Kelly (0-1, 1.69 ERA) will make his second start in place of RHP Dereck Rodriguez. Kelly allowed one run on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings Friday in Cincinnati.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (8-3, 3.40 ERA) makes his fourth career start against San Francisco. He allowed four runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings and threw a season-high 115 pitches Friday in Philadelphia