If this keeps up, the feel-good vibes that engulfed the Mets during their surprisingly hot start will be a distant memory.

Back at Citi Field to start a seven-game homestand Friday night and looking to rebound after getting knocked around by the Braves earlier in the week, the Mets showed some heart, but it ultimately wasn't enough.

They battled back from an early three-run deficit to tie it on Josh Thole's one-out RBI single in the ninth, but they were done in by Hector Sanchez's two-out RBI single in the top of the 10th and lost to the Giants, 4-3.

"We had opportunities to win the game several times," manager Terry Collins said. "When you play this team, you better be ready to hit because they can pitch. And they showed us that today."

The Mets, who lost for the fourth time in five games, mustered only four hits through the first eight innings, two on solo homers by Jason Bay and rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Their offense, stifled early by Barry Zito, scraped together eight hits.

Frank Francisco was done in by a leadoff walk to former Yankee Melky Cabrera in the 10th. Cabrera stole second with one out and scored on Sanchez's bloop to centerfield, which Nieuwenhuis couldn't glove cleanly in time to nail the speedy Cabrera at the plate.

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Francisco said he left the pitch too high in the zone.

"I missed my spot," he said. "Even though he didn't hit the ball hard, I still should have made a better pitch right there. I knew the guy was swinging so I wanted to throw a strike right there and get him to swing early. But the ball played his way."

The Mets had their shot at pulling this one out in the ninth and 10th but came up short each time.

With runners at the corners and one out in the ninth after Thole's tying hit, Mike Baxter grounded to first baseman Brandon Belt, who cut down Nieuwenhuis at home. Then Ruben Tejada struck out swinging on a 3-and-2 pitch to send it into extra innings.

Singles by Daniel Murphy and David Wright put men on first and second with none out in the 10th. Clay Hensley got Ike Davis to ground out, putting the tying run on third and the winning run on second. But Bay struck out swinging and Hensley got Lucas Duda to fly out to center to end the game.

Mets starter Jonathon Niese's control deserted him in the second, but he got through the inning unscathed. He wasn't as lucky in the third, however. Former Met Angel Pagan homered to leftfield and the Giants made it 3-0 on an RBI double by Buster Posey and a run-scoring wild pitch.

Bay's blast in the fourth brought the Mets within 3-1 and Nieuwenhuis' shot in the fifth -- the first to the opposite field by a lefthanded-hitting Met at Citi Field -- shaved the Giants' lead to 3-2.

But there wasn't going to be any last-minute magic, and the Mets (7-6) fell to 3-4 at home.

"I think we take each game seriously," Niese said, "and I think that if we keep hitting and keep pitching, I think it'll turn around."