SAN FRANCISCO — This was a performance the Mets would take from any of their pitchers, let alone their seventh starter.
David Peterson, pitching in place of the injured Max Scherzer, once again impressed in his promotion to the big leagues by holding the Giants to two runs on three hits across six innings. He matched his season-high of six strikeouts, while allowing one walk, across 99 pitches for a 2.16 ERA.
Peterson’s solid outing was complemented by an offensive outburst from the lineup in the Mets’ 13-3 rout over the Giants on Monday night at Oracle Park. Manager Buck Showalter, who was celebrating his 66th birthday on Monday, gladly accepted the win as his gift. But Showalter also received a pregame pinata from the team, complete with a bat to bash and release the candy.
“The spin-around was tough after being in Coors Field for three days,” Showalter joked of his pinata experience. “That’s the first chocolate we’ve seen in the clubhouse since the season started. They had some old guy on top of the cake. I don’t know who that was supposed to be, but I figured out it was me.”
In addition to the pinata, the Mets also had an idea brewing to get the skipper’s favorite celebrity to make an appearance, but “she was probably too much money,” according to J.D. Davis. “A lot of us tried to get Shakira in there,” Davis said. “But it was a good win to get 13 runs and 18 hits for him.”
The Mets offense overpowered Giants pitchers, including starting right-hander Alex Cobb, in the series opener. Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil and Mark Canha all homered in the club’s 18-hit effort. Alonso’s three-run home run in the third inning was his 11th of the season, good for a three-way tie for the most homers in the National League. The Mets first baseman also extended his NL-leading RBI count to 40 with the dinger.
The Amazin’s tabbed Cobb for six runs on 10 hits, with most of those runs against him coming in the third inning on a terrific sequence from the Mets lineup. Following Davis’ first single of the night and a pair of softly hit infield singles, Francisco Lindor ripped a well-placed two-run double just off the third base line to collect his 500th career RBI and put the Mets on the board. Alonso followed Lindor’s double with his home run to complete the five-run third-inning rally.
“There’s a lot of potential in this offense,” McNeil said. “We put together really good at-bats. Guys are putting the ball in play and we seem to be getting that big hit.”
Peterson, making his first major-league outing in 20 days, brushed off the trouble he ran into in the second inning on a mistake to Brandon Crawford and bounced back to give the Mets a quality start. Crawford took Peterson’s belt-high fastball and parked it in left field for a two-run home run. But, rather than spiraling, Peterson settled down. In a flashback to his rookie season, when then-manager Luis Rojas would commend Peterson for his calm and composed attitude on the mound, the southpaw bounced back to end his outing by retiring 11 in a row.
If Peterson can deliver consistent performances and build off his Monday night outing against the Giants, he can help make the disappointment of losing Scherzer for the next several weeks that much less sour. Peterson also stepped up for the Mets rotation early last month, when Taijuan Walker hit the injured list and the left-hander delivered four encouraging outings. But now Peterson is showing promise, and giving new hope to a Mets starting staff that could certainly use it.
“My mentality is always one pitch at a time, and when you’re in a rhythm like that it’s pretty easy to build off good pitches,” Peterson said.