Yoenis Cespedes hit his first major-league home run in 2012 in support of Bartolo Colon when they were teammates in Oakland. Now New York Mets, they teamed up across the bay Saturday to hound the Giants.
Cespedes provided the power, slamming two homers and driving in three runs, while Colon, at age 43, employed the finesse, spotting his fastball into the seventh inning and mostly subduing a Giants lineup that had scored 18 runs the first two games of the series. The Giants lost 9-5 and still have not won three consecutive games since the All-Star break.
Matt Moore remained winless in four starts as a Giant. Jake Peavy was roughed up in two innings of relief. And the Giants saw Angel Pagan, arguably their hottest hitter, leave the game after the third inning with a strained right groin. Adding a level of irony, Mets right fielder Alejandro De Aza hit a back-breaking three-run homer off Peavy – one more home run than De Aza hit in 24 games last season as a Giant.
Giants pitchers have allowed 47 home runs in 33 games since the break, second-most in the National League. Cespedes hit one each against Peavy and Moore, who was in trouble from the outset Saturday, allowing the first four hitters he faced to reach base. Cespedes had an RBI double, and Moore was spared further damage in a 30-pitch inning by a baserunning error by Asdrubal Cabrera.
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Moore said he was trying to help the Giants carry momentum over from consecutive wins, but “it doesn’t help when you have that kind of first inning.” In the third, he walked Jose Reyes, who took second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly. Cespedes then hit a drive to left-center field estimated at 457 feet on a fastball that Moore tried to throw inside but left over the plate.
“It’s not a good mistake to make to that caliber of player,” Moore said. “He got that one right there.”
Moore, who issued three walks, said fastball command was an issue throughout the day. It’s something he will try to address before his next start, scheduled for Thursday in the finale of an important series against the Dodgers.
“It seems like we’ve gotten into a bad habit of yanking stuff,” Moore said. “Just get in here on the side day and iron out some stuff, make sure my line to home plate is good. We’ve been cross-firing a little bit, which makes it pretty tough to command the fastball.”
As shaky as Moore was, he exited after the fifth trailing by a run. Denard Span hit a home run into McCovey Cove in the third inning – his second splash hit of the season – and after Joe Panik led off the fifth with a triple, manager Bruce Bochy replaced Moore with pinch hitter Conor Gillaspie, who drove in Panik with a groundout.
Bochy, though, sent in Peavy to start the sixth rather than his typical late-inning relievers. Three of Peavy’s first four hitters singled, and De Aza hooked a fly ball just inside the right-field foul pole to give the Mets a 7-2 lead.
“I’m trying to rest this ’pen a little,” Bochy said. “They’ve been carrying a pretty big workload, and I’ve got to use everybody or I’m going to wear them down.”
Peavy had allowed one run in his last seven relief outings. He returned for the seventh and allowed another loud home run to Cespedes, who recorded his eighth career multihomer game.
“Jake’s been throwing the ball well,” Bochy said. “He was off today.”
Peavy, who has 152 career wins, has a way to go to catch Colon, the active career wins leader, who notched his 229th Saturday, second most among Dominican-born pitchers. Colon still trails Giants Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, who won 243 games, but continues to get hitters out relying mostly on his fastball, varying speeds and locations.
“He just has deception,” Giants catcher Buster Posey said of Colon. “It just goes to show you if you can locate that fastball and have some deception, movement, you can get through lineups.”
Pagan extended his hitting streak to 18 games, the majors’ longest active streak, with a bunt single in the first inning before exiting with groin tightness. Bochy said Pagan hurt himself running down a Cabrera line drive in left field in the third inning.
“We had it checked out; he’s fine,” Bochy said. “Being cautious, and I think with taking off tomorrow and the day off (Monday), he’ll be OK.”