Giants making quick work of Mets

SAN FRANCISCO -- The best thing about the second half of the New York Mets' season so far? It's going quickly.

Thursday's time of game: 131 minutes.

Friday's: 133 minutes.

Saturday's: 167 minutes.

That'll tend to happen when you open the second half with 24 scoreless innings, the longest drought by the franchise since July 24-28, 1992.

Rookie first baseman Ike Davis' two-run homer that glanced off a spectator and landed in the water in McCovey Cove in the seventh inning snapped the team's scoreless drought, but the Mets nonetheless lost 8-4 to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday at AT&T Park.

Giants right-hander Matt Cain was facing the Mets for the first time since beaning David Wright with a 94 mph fastball last Aug. 15 at Citi Field, but that hardly emerged as a storyline.

More relevant:

• How will the Mets muster some offense, which is a major issue even if a pair of late homers by Davis made Saturday's production look palatable?

• And is Hisanori Takahashi really getting another start? Or, will the Mets dare turn to Oliver Perez in that spot Thursday at Dodger Stadium?

The latter answer, a team official said postgame, is that Takahashi is likely to remain in the rotation, with Perez's rehab assignment continuing in the minors.

Making his fourth minor league rehab start, Perez allowed three runs on seven hits, including a pair of homers, while striking out seven and walking two in 6 2/3 innings for Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday. His velocity ranged from 86-89 mph, and he largely threw his offspeed pitches for strikes.

Saturday's loss came on the heels of Tim Lincecum shutting out the Mets on Thursday and Barry Zito and Brian Wilson combining to duplicate that feat Friday.

Johan Santana will try to top Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez in the series finale Sunday and prevent the Mets from getting swept in a four-game series in San Francisco for the first time since May 1-4, 2000.

Until Davis' two-run homer -- the first of the rookie's two shots -- trimmed the deficit to 6-2 in the seventh, the Mets had not scored since Sunday, when Josh Thole plated Jesus Feliciano. At least the Mets avoided matching a franchise record by being shut out in three straight games, which last occurred during that '92 scoreless drought as San Diego's Craig Lefferts and Bruce Hurst and Philadelphia's Curt Schilling collected wins.

Manager Jerry Manuel suggested he was encouraged by some performances Saturday. Regardless, Manuel indicated, the Mets cannot assign the fault for the lack of scoring to Jose Reyes' absence -- not if they're a serious postseason contender.

"We have to have more than Jose. Other guys have to step up in order for us to stay in this thing and do what we have to do," said Manuel, who expects Reyes to reenter the lineup Monday, nine days after he departed a game against the Atlanta Braves with continued right oblique woes.

At least through the opening two games of the series, the Mets could cite a silver lining to the offensive woes thanks to the contributions of their starting pitchers. R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese allowed one run in seven innings apiece on consecutive nights.

Saturday, Takahashi surrendered homers to Andres Torres and Buster Posey and was knocked out in the third inning. For the third time in his last four starts, Takahashi allowed six runs.

"I didn't have good command this game," Takahashi said through an interpreter. "I don't know why. Something was wrong."

Before Takahashi's latest outing, a team official expressed pessimism about a trade for a starting pitching pitcher materializing. Manuel explicitly said the Mets don't need an innings-eater; they need a front-end starter or the addition wouldn't be helpful.

"It has to be somewhat concerning," Manuel said about Takahashi's recent string of performances. "I think there have been a couple of outings where he's given up a number of runs in bunches. And those things are sometimes difficult to defend or overcome."

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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