By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Zack Wheeler pitched two-hit ball against the team that traded him, Michael Conforto homered and the New York Mets scored four times in the first inning Tuesday night on the way to a 6-1 victory over the staggering San Francisco Giants.
Hours after an embarrassed Matt Harvey returned from his three-day suspension with a string of contrite apologies, the banged-up Mets began moving on from their latest commotion. Despite all the injuries and turmoil, New York (16-16) has righted itself on the field by winning eight of 11 following a six-game slide.
Jeff Samardzija (0-5) and the Giants, outhit 13-2, are headed in the opposite direction after their fifth consecutive defeat and eighth in 10 games. San Francisco, with three World Series titles and four playoff appearances since 2010, had the majors’ worst record at 11-23.
The team got more bad news moments before the first pitch when All-Star closer Mark Melancon was put on the disabled list _ though it’s not as if he has had many ninth-inning leads to protect.
Wheeler (2-2) went six innings in his best start since missing two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander was drafted sixth overall in 2009 and then shipped to the Mets for slugger Carlos Beltran in July 2011.
T.J. Rivera had three hits for the Mets, including an RBI double in the second. The rookie fill-in for injured Lucas Duda also made a couple of nice plays at first base.
Buster Posey homered for the second straight night for the Giants.
Neil Walker keyed the first-inning outburst against Samardzija with a two-run triple on a sinking line drive that went under the glove of charging left fielder Eduardo Nunez, an infielder by trade.
Jose Reyes added an RBI single and Rene Rivera had a run-scoring double, both with two outs.
Conforto homered in the seventh off Samardzija, who eventually settled in. He struck out nine and walked none but was tagged for 10 hits and six runs.
New York has scored in the first inning in eight of its last nine games, totaling 17 runs.
Giants: Melancon was placed on the 10-day DL with a sore forearm, retroactive to Saturday. San Francisco played a man short and plans to make a corresponding roster move before the series finale Wednesday afternoon. The team said Melancon, who hasn’t pitched since last Wednesday, has a mild right pronator strain. … SS Brandon Crawford, on the DL since April 26 because of a strained groin, was scheduled to play seven innings in a rehab game for Double-A Richmond. He could be activated Wednesday, manager Bruce Bochy said. … CF Denard Span (sprained shoulder) was slated to play five innings in his first rehab game with Class A San Jose.
Mets: SS Asdrubal Cabrera (left thumb) is expected back in the starting lineup Wednesday. “The thumb is feeling a lot better,” manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera, who got hurt Saturday diving for a grounder, pinch hit for the second consecutive night and singled in the eighth.
Left-hander Tommy Milone makes his Mets debut Wednesday when he starts against Matt Cain (2-1, 4.70 ERA) and the Giants in the finale of a tumultuous homestand for New York. Milone was claimed off waivers Sunday from Milwaukee to help a depleted rotation. He was 1-0 with one save and a 6.43 ERA in six games, three starts. He has not pitched since his last relief appearance April 29 and hasn’t started since April 19. Milone is 45-33 with a 4.21 ERA in his major league career.
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