SAN FRANCISCO - Reality dictates that it shouldn't be possible, that the strength of six men shouldn't be enough to drag the weight of 19. But how else to explain the Mets having their first winning road trip of the season?
Consider Wednesday's 4-1 victory over the Giants, when the Mets got another sparkling start from their only All-Star representative, Jacob deGrom.
The righthander needed just 99 pitches to toss eight shutout innings while holding the Giants to only two hits.
Meanwhile, the much-maligned offense generated just enough to send the Mets back to New York with a 4-2 record on a road trip that began with questions about the job security of manager Terry Collins.
"It was a big swing for a lot of reasons," Collins said. "No. 1, we haven't played well on the Coast. We talked about what a tough month of July we were going to face. We got off to a good start and had we had a bad week here, we were going to be in tough straits. So, it was a big win for us."
Reserve utilityman Eric Campbell hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning, the Mets' first dinger in an astonishing 415 straight plate appearances, a streak dating to June 27.
Before Campbell's third homer of the season, the Mets scraped together both of their runs without the aid of a hit.
They made the most out of a two-base error by the typically surehanded shortstop Brandon Crawford before executing a daring hit-and-run with deGrom at the plate.
It wasn't pretty, though for an offense that entered play last in the NL at 3.45 runs per game, aesthetics took a back seat to practicality.
Jeurys Familia nailed down his 24th save, taking over in the ninth when Bobby Parnell allowed the Giants their only run. With that, the Mets escaped the West Coast with a jolt of confidence.
"We needed it," deGrom said. "It's a good way to go back home."
Behind an effective six-man starting rotation, and a mostly lifeless offense that has been gutted by injuries, the Mets (44-42) enter the final weekend of the first half as a winning team.
On their six-game West Coast swing, which featured series wins against the Dodgers and Giants, Mets pitchers allowed just seven runs.
Despite the Mets' futility on the road, where they are just 15-28, their winning trip kept them within three games of the first-place Nationals in the NL East.
With both lineups missing critical bats, Wednesday's series finale had all the makings of a pitchers' duel between deGrom and veteran righthander Jake Peavy.
The Giants' All-Star catcher Buster Posey did not start for a second straight game, this time because of a hamstring issue. Outfielder Angel Pagan also sat with lingering knee issues.
Michael Cuddyer did not start for the sixth time in the last eight games, also a function of a knee issue that continues to plague him despite a recent cortisone injection.
But deGrom tore through the Giants with ease, following what has been a nerve-racking but productive script for the Mets.
Over and over, pitching has carried the day.
"This game's about pitching," Collins said. "And we're very impressed with what we have."
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