In all likelihood, the last pitcher the New York Mets want to face after breaking out of their lengthy offensive slump is the one who no-hit them last month.
The Mets hope history doesn’t repeat itself as they get a rematch versus Chris Heston on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series against the slumping San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
In his 13th career start on June 9, Heston (8-5, 3.78 ERA) allowed just three hit batsmen and struck out 11 Mets while throwing the season’s first no-hitter, calling it the greatest moment of his life.
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The rookie didn’t throw a pitch faster than 91 mph, utilizing a devastating sinker in the 5-0 victory at Citi Field. It was San Francisco’s fourth no-hitter in as many seasons, following Matt Cain’s perfect game in 2012 and hitless gems by Tim Lincecum in 2013 and `14.
"What I was impressed by was how he threw his sinker on both sides of the plate," New York manager Terry Collins told MLB’ official website. "His breaking ball, we heard it was very good and it is. If his command’s on as good as it was last time, we’ve got our work cut out for us."
Heston has gone 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts since his no-hitter. He allowed three runs over six innings Wednesday before closer Santiago Casilla blew a two-run lead in a 6-5 loss at Miami.
Now Heston will try to help the Giants (42-41) avoid falling to .500 for the first time since they were 17-17 on May 13. They’re coming off an 0-6 road swing following Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Washington.
”Well, there’s time (to turn things around) before the All-Star break,” manager Bruce Bochy said. ”That’s how we have to look at it.”
New York (42-41) had been batting .183 and averaging 1.8 runs during a 5-11 stretch before getting on track with 15 hits – its most since May 16 – in Sunday’s 8-0 win at Dodger Stadium.
Wilmer Flores stayed hot with a career-high four hits, while Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada added three apiece. Flores was 10 for 13 with five RBIs – lifting his average 25 points to .258 – as the Mets took two of three in the series.
New York dropped two of three to the Giants last month, falling to 3-10 against them since September 2013. The club was swept in its only trip to AT&T Park over that span in June 2014.
The Mets have batted .200 versus San Francisco in the past 13 meetings. Lucas Duda (9 for 52), Ruben Tejada (1 for 27) and Travis d’Arnaud (3 for 24) have scuffled against the Giants.
Jonathon Niese (3-8, 3.90) is on the verge of a career-worst losing streak despite pitching well of late. He’s lost six straight decisions but owns a 3.00 ERA over a string of five straight quality starts.
The left-hander allowed one run over seven innings in a 1-0 home loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
He yielded four runs – two earned – over seven innings but did not factor in a 5-4 home win over the Giants on June 11. He’s 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA in three career starts at AT&T Park.
Brandon Crawford homered against Niese last month and is 5 for 12 lifetime in the matchup. He provided the offense Sunday with his 12th homer in the fourth inning.
All-Star Buster Posey extended his hitting streak to 11 games, batting .410 (16 for 39) with four homers, 16 RBIs and a 1.262 OPS in that span. The catcher is 8 for 22 with a homer versus Niese.