NEW YORK -- They still don't believe what they saw. The Giants, incredulous to a fault, saw good fortune gift them a break and bad timing take it away Saturday. And all of that happened in the ninth inning.
San Francisco tied the game on a dropped pop fly that was scored a two-run double, and then took a 5-4 loss to the Mets on a two-play sequence that all but defied description.
First, Aubrey Huff, manning second base for the first time in his career, never broke to the bag on a potential double play, a miscue that allowed the Mets to load the bases with one out.
After that, the Giants retired a runner on a fielder's choice at home, but watched as catcher Buster Posey absorbed a late takeout slide and threw the ball wildly into right field. The Mets came home with the winning run on that play, scoring as Posey argued with the umpire. And that turn of events gave starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong a no-decision even as it gave him new perspective.
"I've never seen anything like that live," Vogelsong said. "I've seen it in some other games, but not in person."
Indeed, the game was fairly innocuous for eight innings before turning in the ninth. San Francisco went into its last at-bat trailing by three runs and did its best to make things interesting. The Giants got a run-scoring single from Emmanuel Burriss, and then they began raiding their bench for pinch-hitters.
The first pinch-hitter, Hector Sanchez, struck out. And the next pinch-hitter, Brandon Belt, came up with two outs and lifted a lazy fly ball to left-center field. Rookie Kirk Neuwenhuis charged the ball and appeared to overrun it, allowing the hit to drop for a double, scoring two runs.
But the Giants, who had removed shortstop Brandon Crawford for Sanchez, soon saw their winning strategy turn to dust. Huff had to move from first base to second, and Burriss went from second to short. From there, the Giants went from needing some luck to watching their fortunes fade.
"You hope that something happens for you, and it did," manager Bruce Bochy said. "That last inning, with the way the game was going, just hit the ball on the ground and something is going to happen."
The Giants, who scored their first run in the third inning on a single by Pablo Sandoval, saw things unravel in the home half of the ninth. Lucas Duda, who had walked twice against Vogelsong, got a leadoff single, and the Mets pushed the go-ahead run to second on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Josh Thole.
One walk later, San Francisco (7-7) went to southpaw Jeremy Affeldt in the hopes of ending the game. Affeldt got Justin Turner to ground to shortstop, but Burriss looked at second and didn't throw because Huff wasn't there. He then made the throw to first and narrowly missed getting the call.
"Where he was playing, he had a long way to go," said Bochy, absolving Huff of blame on the play. "We were hoping to just go to first. We didn't pick it up soon enough, but still, i thought [Turner] was out. That's what I was arguing. I haven't seen [the replay], but if you get him, you get him. He's out."
The game was decided moments later on a ground ball to first base, a ball that Belt calmly threw home to Posey to record the second out. Posey, standing in front of the plate, took some late contact from Hairston and threw past Belt into the outfield, allowing the winning run to score.
The backstop contested the ruling on the field, but later admitted it was the proper call.
"There was just so much going on. At that point, you're trying to plead your case for what it's worth," Posey said. "I was just hoping he was too far up the line. Like at second, if you can't touch the ball and the runner's out. That's what I was hoping, but I don't know and I haven't looked at it or anything."
"I knew I was going to be out by a mile. But the play's not over after that," added Hairston, describing the play from his own perspective. "My goal was just to make him not be able to throw the ball to first. My intention was not to hurt him in any way. I just wanted him to alter the throw."
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for San Francisco and continued an interesting trend. The Giants, who win and lose on their pitching, have yet to allow more than three runs in any of their first seven wins, and they've scored more than four runs just once in their first seven losses.
San Francisco has won three straight series since opening the year on the low end of a three-game sweep against Arizona, and it will have Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner lined up for the last two games against the Mets. New York will counter with Dillon Gee and Johan Santana.
Infielder Ryan Theriot has been missing the last couple days for San Francisco, but he's expected to return to the team for the final two games of the series. Theriot missed Thursday's flight due to an illness, and he didn't arrive in time to make it to Citi Field for the end of Saturday's game.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.