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Rafael Montero gets win, Rene Rivera hits two homers as Mets sweep Giants

New York Mets' Rene Rivera, left, celebrates his

New York Mets' Rene Rivera, left, celebrates his solo home run with teammate Jose Reyes, right, during a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants. June 25, 2017. Photo Credit: AP / Marcio Jose Sanchez

SAN FRANCISCO — Batterymates Rene Rivera and Rafael Montero enjoyed banner days, Jay Bruce slugged his 20th homer and the Mets extended their winning streak to three games by beating the Giants, 8-2.

Sunday afternoon provided a respite from a season of disappointment, though the Mets first endured a scare. Michael Conforto left the game in the sixth shortly after being struck on the left hand on the final pitch thrown by Giants lefthander Matt Moore.

According to the Mets, X-rays were negative. Conforto, who escaped with little more than a bruise, said the pitch did not hit bone, though he had some swelling.

“I want to be back in there as soon as possible, but we’ll see,” said Conforto, who began the day leading the team with a .959 OPS. “It’s pretty stiff right now, but we’ll keep treating it.”

Even with Conforto’s early departure, the Mets completed a three-game sweep.

Rivera hit a two-run blast in the second and a solo shot in the fourth, giving the nine-year veteran the first multihomer game of his career. He also bailed out the Mets by throwing out Hunter Pence trying to steal second and made a sliding catch in front of the backstop on a ball he thought would hit the screen.

“I was surprised, too,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh, I caught it.’ I didn’t think I was going to have a chance, but that was a good play.”

Montero earned his first victory since 2014. In one of his best starts in the big leagues, the righthander held the Giants to one run in 5 2⁄3 innings. The performance came after two strong relief appearances that earned him Sunday’s start.

“I feel a lot more confidence in my pitching,” Montero said through a translator.

Facing one of the weakest lineups in baseball, Montero shed his reputation for nibbling. He attacked the strike zone with his fastball, which set up his changeup. The results were swings and misses and an ability to work out of trouble. “That’s exactly what we wanted to see,” manager Terry Collins said.

The Giants (27-51) only helped Montero’s cause.

Pence’s steal attempt came with two outs in the third and a runner on third, an inexplicable risk given the situation. The Giants ran themselves out of another rally in the sixth. With men on first and second, manager Bruce Bochy sent the runners in motion, only to have Buster Posey hit a pop-up behind first base. Joe Panik was doubled off second.

Bruce upped his potential trade value with his home run. He’s on pace to eclipse 40 homers and 100 RBIs for the season. Curtis Granderson added a solo shot into McCovey Cove in the ninth, giving the Mets 46 homers in June, a franchise record for a single month.

On Friday, general manager Sandy Alderson signaled a willingness to listen to trade offers for veterans in their free-agency walk years. Since then, the Mets have yet to lose, though they remain seven games under .500 and 11 games out of a playoff spot.

“Hopefully,” Collins said, “We can build off it.”

Notes & quotes: Zack Wheeler (biceps tendinitis) threw a bullpen session and remains on track to be activated from the disabled list Friday or Saturday . . . Yoenis Cespedes did not play after starting five straight games . . . Chase Bradford tossed a scoreless ninth in his major-league debut.

New York Sports