SAN FRANCISCO -- New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel now believes Jose Reyes may not appear at all during this weekend's four-game series in San Francisco. Instead, Manuel indicated, Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks may be the most realistic time for the shortstop to return from a right oblique injury.
In the interim, the Mets are going to have to figure out how to score some runs.
So far since returning from the All-Star break, it's been a struggle.
For the second straight game, the Mets were blanked by a former Cy Young winner. After Tim Lincecum went the distance for a shutout Thursday, Barry Zito tossed eight scoreless innings Friday and combined with closer Brian Wilson as the Giants beat the Mets 1-0 at AT&T Park.
The Mets have not scored since the first-half finale Sunday at Citi Field, when Josh Thole's pinch-hit single in the eighth inning scored Jesus Feliciano and capped a 3-0 win against the Atlanta Braves that pulled the Mets back within four games of the division leader entering the break.
"We faced two guys that I think threw the ball extremely well," third baseman David Wright said, referring to Lincecum and Zito. "And then, I think, on top of that we're not swinging the bats very well. So that's not a good mix, obviously, when you're facing a team that probably has one of the strongest and deepest starting pitching staffs in the National League. We're going to have to get some stuff figured out against two strong guys out there the next two days [Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez].
"With or without Jose, we have to find a way to win. I don't know when we're going to get him back. Hopefully soon. But until then, we've got to find a way to score runs and get some offense going. Right now we can't get anything going."
Zito held the Mets hitless until rookie Ruben Tejada, subbing for Reyes at shortstop and in the leadoff slot, opened the fourth inning with a single. The Mets had only five baserunners all evening -- on hits by Carlos Beltran, Tejada and Wright and walks to newcomer Justin Turner and Jon Niese.
The only runner to reach scoring position came in the seventh, when Beltran doubled with two outs. He was stranded when Jeff Francoeur popped out in foul territory down the first-base line.
The Mets wasted a solid pitching performance for the second straight night. Niese allowed one run on six hits while striking out four and walking three in seven innings. A night earlier, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey limited San Francisco to one run on five hits in seven innings, but the Mets lost 2-0.
The Giants were 2-26 in the first half when they scored two or fewer runs, but they're 2-0 against the Mets this series with that offensive production.
"I was talking to [Alex] Cora and I was telling him our pitching staff is really doing a real good job," Beltran said. "If they continue to pitch like that, when we get hot as an offensive team, the lineup, I think we're going to win games.
"At the same time, we just can't say that we're not facing good pitchers. We have faced Cy Young yesterday, Cy Young today. They know what they're doing. At the same time, we feel as a team we need to push a little bit harder. We're going to be fine. If we stay healthy as a team, I think we're going to be fine."