His nickname is Kung Fu Panda. The New York Mets probably have other, not so cute, monikers for Pablo Sandoval.
Sandoval drove in three runs with three hits, including a go-ahead double with two outs in the ninth inning Monday that propelled the San Francisco Giants to a 4-3 victory over the New York Mets.
“You know Pablo, he gets a little anxious sometimes,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “But you can tell he’s comfortable up there and seeing the ball well and he fought off some tough pitches, too. Not once, but two, three times today.”
San Francisco took three of four at Citi Field while the Mets dropped a home series for the first time since June 10-12 against Milwaukee.
Sandoval, who hit a two-run double in the third off Dillon Gee that tied the game at 2-2, delivered again in the ninth.
Gregor Blanco singled with two outs off Mets closer Jenrry Mejia (5-4). Blanco stole second and, after Buster Posey drew his fourth walk of the game, Sandoval sliced a ground-rule double into the seats down the left-field line.
Mejia, the Mets’ sixth pitcher of the afternoon, had allowed just one earned run since June 18.
“I don’t try to do too much in those situations,” Sandoval said. “I just try to get a good pitch to hit. I try to focus on the moment.”
Sandoval is hitting .344 (32-for-93) over his past 23 games. The 2012 World Series MVP has 13 hits in his last 25 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Sergio Romo (5-3) got the win with one scoreless inning, and Santiago Casilla pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save.
The Mets, who got a two-run, first-inning homer from Daniel Murphy and an RBI infield single by David Wright in the fifth off Tim Hudson, took a 3-2 lead into the seventh. But the Giants tied it off Jeurys Familia, ending his streak of 13 relief appearances since June 30 without permitting an earned run.
Hunter Pence, who had two doubles, two triples and two homers in the series, led off with a long drive that glanced off the glove of leaping left fielder Chris Young, as center fielder Juan Lagares also jumped for the ball at the wall.
After Blanco walked, Familia threw a wild pitch that made it 3-3. Sandoval singled, but Lagares threw out Blanco at the plate.
That only set up another chance for Sandoval.
“He hits anything,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He hits the ball off the plate, he hits it all over the field. That’s why they’re a good team, because that guy drives in a lot of runs.”
Hudson left after five innings. In his previous start at Citi Field, he was carried off the field with a season-ending broken ankle after a collision at first base on July 24, 2013, while with Atlanta.
Collins was tossed at the end of the seventh by plate umpire Ben May for arguing balls and strikes. It was his second ejection of the season.
Giants rookie second baseman Joe Panik, from Yonkers, had a career-high three hits after entering the game batting .203. He starred in college at nearby St. John’s.