The San Francisco Giants broke out of their offensive slump – at least temporarily – to end a season high-tying losing streak.
They hope to back the run support-starved Ryan Vogelsong with better production Friday night when they visit the surging New York Mets.
San Francisco (58-50) continues to chase Los Angeles for the NL West lead but snapped a six-game skid Wednesday with a 7-5 win over Pittsburgh. The Giants had totaled six runs while batting .176 during the losing streak, then scratched out 12 singles against the Pirates. Gregor Blanco was 3 for 3 and drove in two runs.
"It’s cliché, but we’ve been up and we’ve been down," second baseman Joe Panik told baseball’s official website. "Hopefully now we’ve gotten things going and will take this into the road trip."
San Francisco could get a boost from the potential return of Brandon Belt, who hasn’t played since July 19 due to a concussion. Belt has 10 homers and 23 RBIs in 46 games.
The Mets (52-56) are six games behind San Francisco in the wild-card standings but have been the NL’s best team since July 4, going 15-8 and winning nine of their last 11 at home.
Lucas Duda is batting .311 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs since July 4 and has homered five times in his last eight games.
"He’s become one of the more dangerous hitters in the National League," Mets third baseman David Wright said.
However, Duda has hit just .167 with no homers in 15 career matchups with San Francisco and is 0 for 5 against Vogelsong (5-8, 3.94 ERA), who is winless in six straight starts. The Giants have backed him with three runs of support – all in one outing – over 33 2-3 innings in that span, and his 3.34 run-support average is one of the lowest in the majors.
The right-hander gave up four runs – two earned – over six innings in a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday.
"Vogey’s had some tough luck. Not just this start, but in a lot of starts, things have just gone awry for him," manager Bruce Bochy told MLB’s official website.
Vogelsong, who owns a 5.44 ERA on the road, hasn’t gone seven starts without a victory since a 12-start winless stretch – the longest of his career – from April 14-June 18, 2004, with Pittsburgh. He’s gone without a decision in his last three outings against the Mets while surrendering 10 runs in 18 innings.
New York’s Jonathon Niese (5-6, 3.23) will make his third start since a stint on the disabled list due to a sore shoulder. On Saturday he held Milwaukee scoreless for four innings before surrendering three runs in the fifth. He later disagreed with manager Terry Collins’ decision to pinch-hit for him in the sixth.
"I’ve known Niese long enough, he never wants to come out," Collins told MLB’s official website. "I love that about him."
Niese boasts a strong history versus San Francisco, posting a 2.38 ERA in five starts despite a 1-2 record. Buster Posey is 6 for 15 against him.
Daniel Murphy is 12 for 25 over his last six games and 4 for 8 against Vogelsong.
San Francisco swept a three-game series between the teams at home in June.