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Mets rally once but still fall short against Giants in 10 innings, 4-3

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- On the day the San Francisco Giants announced that closer Brian Wilson's season-ending Tommy John surgery was successful, their initial attempt to close out the New York Mets was not.

But Hector Sanchez's two-out single in the top of the 10th and Clay Hensley's clutch pitching in the bottom of the inning gave the Giants their third straight win, 4-3 over the Mets on Friday night at Citi Field.

New York rallied for a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game 3-3 and threatened again in the 10th before Hensley escaped to earn the save.

"That would have been a tough one to lose," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "... They found a way to score in the ninth. Big hit by Hector. Young kid's doing a good job."

Jason Bay and Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered for the Mets, who dropped their third straight game. Former Met Angel Pagan homered to spark a three-run third inning for the Giants against Mets starter Jon Niese. Mets closer Frank Francisco (0-1) took the loss.

Reliever Sergio Romo (1-0) got the win after keeping the Giants alive by getting out of the ninth with the winning run on third base and one out. Then Hensley bailed him out in the bottom of the 10th after Daniel Murphy and David Wright led off the inning with singles. Hensley got Ike Davis on a grounder to second that moved the runners up, then struck out Bay and retired Lucas Duda on a fly to center to end the game.

"You want to give yourself a chance and we did," said Mets catcher Josh Thole, who tied the game in the ninth with a single off Javier Lopez.

Melky Cabrera walked to lead off the top of the 10th, the fourth time he'd reached base, with two hits and two walks. With one out, Cabrera stole second. With two outs, Mets closer Frank Francisco intentionally walked Nate Schierholtz to get to Sanchez.

Sanchez then singled to center field to score Cabrera for the 4-3 lead.

After two relievers threw three hitless innings to back up starter Barry Zito, Santiago Casilla and Lopez coughed up a one-run lead in the ninth.

With the Mets down 3-2, Bay led off the ninth with an infield single against Casilla, leading Bochy to bring in Lopez.

Bochy said after the game Casilla would get the majority of closing opportunities, but wanted to go with the lefty Lopez because the Mets had three straight lefties due up.

"We had the right guy out there," Bochy said of Lopez, who had not given up a run or allowed an inherited runner to score entering the game.

After pinch-hitter Duda flied out to right, Nieuwenhuis walked before Thole singled to right to bring in Bay with the tying run and send Nieuwenhuis to third.

In came Romo, who got pinch-hitter Mike Baxter to ground the ball to first baseman Brandon Belt with the infield playing in. Belt threw home to cut down Nieuwenhuis for the second out.

Leadoff hitter Ruben Tejada then ran the count to 3-2 before striking out.

"We hung in there and gave ourselves opportunities," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We had opportunities to win the game several times, and when you play this team you better be ready to hit because they pitch and they showed us that today."

Zito pitched five innings of two-run ball. Guillermo Mota threw a 1-2-3 sixth, and Jeremy Affeldt pitched a hitless seventh and eighth.

Niese allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings.

Nieuwenhuis pulled the Mets within 3-2 with a drive to left for his second homer of the season to lead off the bottom of the fifth.

The Mets loaded the bases on two singles and a walk with two outs, but Ike Davis popped out to short to end the inning.

Zito dominated the Mets early, keeping them hitless for the first 3 2/3 innings before Bay hit his third homer of the season to left.

Niese did not have as smooth a performance, wiggling out of trouble in the second before giving up three runs in the third.

Pagan led off the third with a homer to center off Niese to open the scoring.

Cabrera and Pablo Sandoval followed with singles. Sandoval extended his hitting streak to all 13 of the Giants' games this season.

A wild pitch brought home Cabrera before Buster Posey doubled in Sandoval for a 3-0 lead.

The Giants loaded the bases with one out in the second on two singles and a walk, but Niese retired No. 8 hitter Brandon Crawford on a flyball to center and struck out Zito to end the inning.

NOTES: Giants RHP Brian Wilson's Tommy John ligament surgery on his right elbow Thursday went "very well," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's good news. It went great." ... 2B Ryan Theriot was out of the lineup because of flu-like symptoms and was too sick to make the flight Thursday night, Bochy said. He was expected to join the Giants sometime Friday night. Emmanuel Burris started in his place. ... Mets left-handed hitters RF Lucas Duda and C Josh Thole were given the start off against LHP Barry Zito. Both were used as pinch-hitters and stayed in the game. ... C Mike Nickeas singled in the fifth inning for his first hit of the season. It also ended an 0-for-20 string going back to last year. ... 3B David Wright extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He remained tied for first place on the Mets' all-time RBI list with Darryl Strawberry at 733. ... RHP R.A. Dickey and former Mets pitching coach Charie Hough will put on a clinic Saturday in Manhattan before a screening of the documentary "Knuckleball: The Movie" at the Tribeca Film Festival. "I'm excited because I think it does the pitch justice," Dickey said. "I think a lot of times people don't respect the pitch."
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