Almost left behind on baseball’s scrap heap, the resurgent Tatis homered, doubled twice and drove in four runs as the Mets beat the San Francisco Giants 7-3 Thursday for their sixth straight victory.
“It’s amazing,” Tatis said.
Best known as the only major leaguer to hit two grand slams in a single inning, Tatis delivered the first three extra-base hit performance of his career, the Elias Sports Bureau said.
Tatis’ tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning was timely, too. After the game, the Mets said outfielder Moises Alou had torn his left hamstring and likely was done for the year.
“It’s a good day for Fernando Tatis to have a good day,” general manager Omar Minaya said.
The Mets’ winning streak is their longest since a seven-game string in August 2006. Tatis also contributed in a big way Sunday with a two-run homer in the 12th inning that beat Philadelphia.
Out of the majors since 2006, Tatis was a late arrival in spring training. When he got promoted from the minors in mid-May, the Mets regarded him as a utilityman and possible pinch-hitter.
But the 33-year-old Tatis has proven to be a valuable bat, an adequate fielder and someone who runs well. And with the Mets minus Alou and Ryan Church in the outfield, Tatis could stop the merry-go-round.
“I don’t want to think about taking anyone’s job,” Tatis said. “Whenever they put me out there, I’ll play hard.”
David Wright doubled twice, and scored the go-ahead run in a four-run seventh inning. It was his last bid to earn the final spot on the NL All-Star team—Internet balloting closed shortly after the game.
Despite the public-address announcer at Shea Stadium frequently urging fans to text in their votes for Wright, Milwaukee outfielder Corey Hart won the spot.
The Giants ended their scoreless streak at 21 innings, but still lost their fourth in a row. They were held to three hits in each of the three losses to the Mets.
“We just got outplayed. We got outhit, we didn’t play well on defense,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It was probably our worst series of the year. The Mets, they’re playing well right now. They’re a hot team. We’re not playing well. That’s why we got swept.”
Tatis hit his fourth homer, a two-run drive into the left-field bleachers off Sergio Romo (0-1) in the seventh.
Tatis had gotten just 56 at-bats in the majors since 2003 when he joined the Mets. His big year was long ago, in 1999 when he hit those two slams off Chan Ho Park and finished that season with 34 homers and 107 RBIs for St. Louis.
With the homer, Tatis raised his average over .300. The crowd chanted his name when he came up again in the eighth inning.
“It’s an inspiration to the whole team,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.
Shut out by the Mets the previous two nights, the Giants scored in the fourth when John Bowker doubled and later raced home on Maine’s wild pitch.
A righty, Maine exited his last start because of a cramp in his left forearm. Against the Giants, he matched season highs by striking out eight and walking five—Maine faced 21 batters and went to a full count on 10 of them.
Ahead 3-1 with two outs in the fifth, Maine lost a chance at a win because of Randy Winn. After Winn lined a tying double for just the Giants’ second hit, Manuel pulled Maine.
Tatis’ second double of the game drove in two runs and put the Mets ahead 3-0 in the third against Barry Zito. Carlos Beltran hit an RBI single, then ran right through third base coach Luis Aguayo’s stop and easily scored when the throw home was cut off.
Tatis made a nice running catch on Castillo’s fly toward the right-field corner in the sixth and finished the game playing left.
Zito got a no-decision and avoided becoming the first pitcher to lose 13 times before the All-Star break since Detroit’s Jeremy Bonderman and Mike Maroth in 2003. Denny McLain holds the major league record for losses by the All-Star break with 15 in 1971. … Maine drew a walk from Zito in the fourth. The next inning, Zito drew a walk from Maine and scored his first run of the year.