Though Ponson had a solid debut for San Francisco on Wednesday, he was on the short end of a 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh despite allowing only two runs over 7 1-3 innings.
“He’s got a lot of resources,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said after Ponson’s effort against the Pirates. “He’s got a good sinker, he gets double plays, he’s got a good changeup and good command of his fastball. But we didn’t score any runs. … I’ll take a two-run outing every time.”
The Giants are playing extremely well coming into this series with a 16-7 mark since the All-Star break, including wins in five of their last seven.
New York just finished a six-game road trip at 3-3 against wild card contenders Houston and Arizona.
The Mets, who split a four-game set at San Francisco in mid-May, are hoping Aaron Heilman can give them a reason not to send him back to Triple-A Norfolk.
Heilman and Mets pitching coach Vern Ruhle have been working together on getting the rookie to slow down his delivery. That, and the inability to harness the late action on his fastball, have been the main reasons for the right-hander’s struggles at the major league level.
“It’s more of a pace thing and it’s been going good so far,” Heilman said. “I’m trying to find a comfortable zone where I am under control. At times I feel like I’m rushing. It’s the kind of thing that I’ve fought for a while. Hopefully I’ll be able to figure it out and lock it in and get comfortable.
Heilman has given up 31 runs in his last six starts, averaging 4 2-3 innings over that stretch.
STANDINGS: Giants - 1st place, NL West. Mets - 5th place, 28 GB, NL East.
GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Ponson (0-1, 2.45 ERA). In two lifetime starts against the Mets, both with the Orioles, Ponson is 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA. He tossed a complete game in a 4-1 win over the Mets in 1999, but has never pitched at Shea Stadium.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Heilman (1-5, 7.75 ERA). The right-hander, who is facing the Giants for the first time, is coming off his shortest outing of the season. He lasted three innings at Houston on Wednesday, allowing six runs and seven hits—including two home runs—in an 11-1 defeat.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Giants - Barry Bonds, .334 avg., 35 HRs, 74 RBIs and 82 runs; Marquis Grissom, 9 SBs. Mets - Cliff Floyd, .275 avg., 18 HRs and 62 RBIs; Ty Wigginton, 59 runs; Wigginton and Jose Reyes, 9 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Giants - OF Grissom leads the team with 43 multihit games, fourth in the NL. … The Giants have a 53-5 record when scoring five or more runs this year. … C Yorvit Torrealba is 3-for-4 and has driven in six runs with the bases loaded this season. Mets - C Mike Piazza is expected to catch nine innings for Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday night, after which he will return to New York in time to face the Giants in Wednesday’s game. … INF-OF Joe McEwing has just two extra-base hits—both doubles—since July 26. … OF Roger Cedeno is hitting .196 (22-for-112) in his career against San Francisco.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Giants - 32-26 on the road; Mets - 23-35 at home.
INJURIES: Giants - C Alberto Castillo (wrist), 15-day DL; SS Rich Aurilia (appendicitis), 15-day DL; 2B Ray Durham (leg), 15-day DL; RHP Robb Nen (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Kirk Rueter (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Chad Zerbe (oblique), 15-day DL. Mets - C Piazza (groin), 15-day DL; 1B Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (groin), 60-day DL.