Ahmed, Chapman deliver timely hits to propel SF Giants over Mets

Evan Webeck, The Mercury News on

Published in Baseball

SAN FRANCISCO — More than once this season Bob Melvin has been left to lament the Giants’ lack of timely hitting to explain away their losses. With the Mets in town Monday to begin a three-game series, the manager got to change his tone.

Nick Ahmed and Matt Chapman delivered a pair of well-timed base knocks, Michael Conforto slugged his team-leading fifth home run and Keaton Winn turned in his strongest effort of the season as the Giants started the series on the right note, with a 5-2 win over the Mets.

Ahmed’s two-out, two-RBI single in the second inning gave the Giants a lead they wouldn’t relinquish behind six-plus innings of one-run ball from Winn, who has won back-to-back starts after the Giants lost all of his first three.

The No. 9 hitter stepped into the box with two outs after Tom Murphy watched strike three. He swung at the first pitch and missed extra bases by inches, sending a fastball just foul off the left-field wall. But two pitches later, he got another heater that he drove up the middle.

The heart of the order picked up the slack the next inning, as Matt Chapman lined a two-RBI double to extend the Giants’ lead to 4-0, though the burden only fell on his shoulders after Jorge Soler struck out looking with Jung Hoo Lee and Wilmer Flores on base.

Lee’s single extended his on-base streak to 13 games, raising his batting average to .284 and OPS to .729. Chapman is batting .226 with a .710 OPS, and Soler added a pair of singles in his other chances to improve his average to .250 and OPS to .787.

Entering Monday’s game, the Giants’ three biggest free-agent additions — Chapman, Soler and Lee, with $209 million guaranteed between them — had been hitting .200 (12-for-60) in prime scoring opportunities, and the team as a whole hadn’t fared much better, its .236 average with runners in scoring position in the bottom third of the majors.


The two hits were the only ones the Giants got in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position but were all they needed.

Conforto ended Quintana’s evening and tacked on an insurance run to lead off the sixth with a solo shot to right field, sending a first-pitch curveball on to the Levi’s Landing concourse an estimated 375 feet away. It was his fifth of the season, a total six other teams are still waiting for a player to reach.

A solo shot off the bat of Pete Alonso was all the damage the Mets could muster against Winn.

The home run by Alonso to lead off the fifth inning was all that prevented Winn from facing the minimum through six innings.

Melvin sent Winn out for the seventh but came to get him after the first two runners reached base. He didn’t issue a walk until his final batter, Francisco Lindor, finishing six-plus innings with one run on four hits and six strikeouts — four with a splitter in especially lethal form — to lower his ERA to 3.54.

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