NEW YORK (AP) — Rarely in modern baseball does a starting pitcher get to face the opposing lineup for a fourth time. For soft-tossing, back-of-the-rotation types, it’s more like hardly ever.
Jason Vargas began his career during a different era, and Mets manager Mickey Callaway was there to see him back in the day. So Callaway had no hesitation letting Vargas do things old school Wednesday night.
“He’s just really earned the right,” Callaway said.
Vargas threw 117 pitches for his first shutout in two years, Amed Rosario hit a three-run homer and New York beat the San Francisco Giants 7-0 despite losing Robinson Canó hours after his return from the injured list.
Michael Conforto and Adeiny Hechavarría each had a solo homer for the Mets, who ended a three-game skid with their second win in seven games.
Vargas (2-3) was maligned by Mets fans as an unworthy No. 5 starter coming into the season, but the 14-year veteran has been stellar lately, allowing one run or fewer in seven of his past eight starts.
Despite averaging just 84 mph on his fastball, the 36-year-old lefty struck out a season-best eight, allowed five hits and a walk, and threw his most pitches in five years. His previous high this season was 98.
First baseman Pete Alonso gave Vargas the ball and a big hug after the final out of his eighth career shutout and 13th complete game. His previous shutout came on June 2, 2017, for Kansas City against Cleveland — Callaway was the Indians’ pitching coach at the time.
It was just the second time in Vargas’ two years with the Mets he was permitted to face the opposing order a fourth time.
“I don’t know if it’s easier for somebody who played a little further back when that wasn’t as big of a deal and you were able to keep going as long as you were able to show you were able to keep rolling,” Vargas said. “I think that Mickey was aware of that tonight. I think it probably made him feel a little better that he’d seen me do it against his club in Cleveland a few times. I think it’s just part of having done it.”
Vargas faced the minimum over innings five through eight, then worked around Donovan Solano’s single to finish the ninth. His one-man show came a day after Callaway removed a furious Noah Syndergaard in the seventh, then apologized to his team for a move that backfired. Callaway said he had a restless night thinking about that decision.
“I can sleep tonight,” he joked.
It was New York’s second complete game this season — Syndergaard shut out Cincinnati on May 2.
Tyler Beede (0-2) allowed six runs (five earned) in five innings for the Giants, who had won three straight. Beede was coming off his best start in the majors, going six innings in a 3-1 win against Miami. The 2014 first-round pick is still seeking his first major league win.
“He’s got to get this figured out as far as being consistent with the command of his pitches,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We all know he’s got the stuff. He’s got the equipment, but I think tonight was really a perfect case of you don’t have to throw that hard to get hitters out.”
Canó played for the first time since straining his left quadriceps May 22 but was pulled at the start of the fifth inning with tightness in the muscle . He favored the leg running to first base on a rally-killing double play in the third.
Canó doesn’t think he’ll need to go back on the injured list, but he’ll be evaluated further Thursday before New York makes any determinations.
“It’s just got tightness,” Canó said. “Nothing else.”
Hechavarría replaced him at second base to begin the fifth.
ABOUT THOSE RUNS
The Mets have homered in 12 consecutive home games, a first at Citi Field. Conforto hit a leadoff shot in the fourth and Rosario’s drive made it 5-0, all before Beede got the first out of the inning. Conforto drove in another run an inning later with a sacrifice fly, and Hechavarría hit a leadoff homer in the seventh.
Jeff McNeil had three hits for New York in his second game since coming off the injured list.
Giants: C Buster Posey was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain, retroactive to June 2. Posey was injured running out a grounder Saturday, and San Francisco had hoped he could avoid the IL. Bochy said he is hopeful Posey will be activated when he’s eligible. … RHP Trevor Gott was activated from the IL after dealing with a forearm strain.
Mets: OF Aaron Altherr was designated for assignment to open a roster spot for Canó.
Giants RHP Shaun Anderson (1-1, 4.09 ERA) faces RHP Zack Wheeler (5-3, 4.68) in a noon matinee Thursday to wrap up the three-game series.
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