SAN FRANCISCO — The more the Mets see of Rich Hill, the less there has been to like.
And the more the Giants saw of Hill on Monday, the less the Mets liked.
After Hill allowed just one hit in three scoreless innings, he was knocked around the second time through the San Francisco order in the Mets’ 7-5 loss at Oracle Park.
His outing turned in a flash, the Giants stapling five straight hits against him to end his night after 3 ²/₃ innings in which he was fortunate to surrender just two runs, pushing his ERA with the Mets to 4.98. In five games, he has eaten up just 21 ²/₃ innings.
“Unfortunately didn’t do my job. That’s the part that sucks,” said Hill, who was frustrated he could not get the last out of the inning.
The southpaw, added from Tampa Bay to try to shore up a rotation that has dealt with so many injuries, has not been the find they had hoped. The big curveball that Hill is known for has mostly disappeared since the crackdown on sticky stuff. He didn’t try a curve in the first inning then mixed more in, with the Giants swinging at 11 of the offerings without whiffing once.
And yet, the 41-year-old’s start still began with much promise. He sailed in the first; allowed just a Brandon Crawford ground single in the second; then pitched around hard contact in a 1-2-3 third.
After the second time he saw the Giants’ order, though, he didn’t last for a third.
The Giants pounded hit after hit in a fourth inning that began with a Buster Posey double. The Giants’ righty-heavy lineup went to work, with Darin Ruf, Evan Longoria, Crawford and former Met Wilmer Flores lining singles that dug the Mets a 2-0 hole. None were bloops from Giants batters who only swung and missed at two of Hill’s 68 pitches.
Only some perhaps incidental creativity from Pete Alonso helped slow the Giants in the inning, as Ruf was ruled out at first after he stepped on Alonso’s foot and came off the bag.
“Rich is a really good pitcher,” said Luis Rojas, who said in other circumstances he would have stayed with Hill longer. “Just the situation — we are not scoring a lot of runs early.”
The Mets — down Jacob deGrom (perhaps for the season), Noah Syndergaard (who could return as a reliever) and David Peterson (perhaps for the season), among others — do not have many options at the back of the rotation, where the club’s depth has let them down.
Their rotation finished the first half with a 2.98 ERA, the second best in baseball that kept them afloat. After the All-Star break, the mark has ballooned to 5.45, with this four-game losing streak against two of the best teams in baseball especially not treating the Mets’ starters well.
After Hill was pulled, former Cubs star Kris Bryant launched a pair of home runs, one off Miguel Castro and another off Trevor May. The Giants’ major July trade acquisition was significantly more impactful Monday than the Mets’.
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