NEW YORK (AP) No team was happier to flip the calendar Saturday than the New York Mets.

Justin Verlander pitched seven steady innings for his first victory in nearly six weeks and slumping rookie Francisco Álvarez hit the first of three quick homers that powered the struggling Mets to a 4-1 win over the San Francisco Giants.

“It’s July. We’ve got July off to a good start. We’re hoping to build on it,” manager Buck Showalter said. “There’s a real accountability to trying to get where we want to get. The potential’s still there for us.”

Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor launched back-to-back shots as the Mets went deep three times in a span of four batters against Anthony DeSclafani (4-8) in the third.

“Sometimes in the baseball world, you don’t even know what day it is,” Nimmo said. “But sure, if the guys want to look at it as it’s a new month and, hey, this is a clean slate - anything that’s positive for me, I’m all behind.”

Tommy Pham added an RBI double off Sean Manaea in the fourth, and New York (37-46) earned a much-needed win after going 6-19 in its previous 25 games.

“I'm glad June's over,” Showalter said before the game.

The 40-year-old Verlander (3-4) gave up five hits, struck out six and didn't allow an earned run for his 247th victory and first since May 21 against Cleveland.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner was 0-2 in his previous six starts.

“It wasn’t perfect, but I was able to make pitches when I needed to and felt a lot better than last time,” Verlander said. “Definitely a huge step in the right direction and just trying to build off that momentum.”

The right-hander has a 0.84 ERA in his last five starts at Citi Field.

“I thought he did a really good job of mixing it up, keeping hitters off balance, staying off the barrel,” Giants third baseman J.D. Davis said. "He did his job, and he's one of the best to do it."

The only run the Giants scored came on Thairo Estrada's double-play grounder in the seventh following a throwing error by first baseman Pete Alonso - his second in two days.

San Francisco put two runners on after that but Verlander fanned Brandon Crawford on a full-count breaking ball with his 29th pitch of the inning.

“It's a big spot. You want to pick your teammate up,” Verlander said. “It feels incredible.”

Drew Smith tossed a perfect eighth and Adam Ottavino worked a hitless ninth for his sixth save, getting Estrada to ground into a game-ending double play that was upheld following a replay review.

“This is how you draw it up. I thought a well-played game overall,” Nimmo said. “I think it’s definitely what this team is designed to do. Just more of it in the future is what we need.”

DeSclafani, who grew up in nearby New Jersey, went three innings and dropped to 0-6 in nine starts and one relief appearance against the Mets, including a loss at home on April 21.

San Francisco (46-37) fell to 14-5 in its last 19 games dating to June 11.

“We're OK with getting socked in the face. We're OK getting beat up. We're kind of like the Rocky Balboa in a sense,” Davis said. “We're just sitting there waiting for our shots and waiting for our moments.”


Giants center fielder Luis Matos made a fantastic catch in the second, banging into the fence while robbing Pham of extra bases.

“Back when I used to play video games, I was Justin Verlander,” the 21-year-old rookie said through a translator. “Who would have ever thought that I was going to face him in real life?”


Giants: Ex-Mets OF Michael Conforto (tight left hamstring) missed a second consecutive game in his return to Citi Field. Conforto was injured making a catch in the first inning Thursday night at Toronto. ... 1B LaMonte Wade Jr. sat out with a balky back that's been bothering him for a while.

Mets: Showalter said he wasn't sure yet if LHP José Quintana (rib surgery) will join the rotation next week or make another minor league rehab start before the All-Star break. Quintana threw 64 pitches Friday in his fourth rehab outing but lasted only 2 2/3 innings for Triple-A Syracuse.


Giants: RHP Ross Stripling (0-2, 6.88 ERA) makes his first start since May 17. He went on the IL with a back strain, was activated June 25 and had a three-inning relief outing three days later at Toronto.

Mets: LHP David Peterson (2-6, 7.00 ERA) makes his second start for New York since a six-week demotion to the minors. Peterson pitched six shutout innings Tuesday to beat Milwaukee in his return from Triple-A Syracuse.


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