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Mets' Hefner throws 3 shutout innings in MLB debut

NEW YORK — Jeremy Hefner got quite a sightseeing tour on his whirlwind trip to the big city.

Summoned by the New York Mets from Triple-A shortly before noon, Hefner wound up pitching three scoreless innings Monday in his major league debut, a 6-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants in the first game of a doubleheader.

"This is my first time in New York City, first time seeing the Statue of Liberty, so it was really cool," the Oklahoma-born Hefner said.

Hefner came in to begin the fifth inning and the first hitter he faced was Buster Posey. The right-hander retired the Giants star on a grounder, and wound up allowing three hits and a walk.

After the game, the Mets sent the 26-year-old Hefner back to the minors and promoted infielder Jordany Valdespin from Buffalo.

"You're on a high whenever you get over here. Getting sent down, it's kind of a bummer. But I'll enjoy it while I'm here," Hefner said.

"I had a good outing, so everything went well," he said. "Hopefully, I contributed, and I'll go back down and keep working on my craft. When they need me, I'll be back."

Hefner had been scheduled to start at Lehigh Valley on Monday night when he was called up. He took a car service for the 2-hour ride, arriving in time for the doubleheader that was set to begin at 4:10 p.m.

"I was more nervous on the drive over," he said. "When I got here, I was fine."

Tim Lincecum posted his first victory of the season despite another uneven performance, Nate Schierholtz and Buster Posey homered and the Giants won for the seventh time in 10 games.

Slightly more than 1,000 fans were in the stands when the opener began on a windy, raw afternoon better suited for the Bay Area and perhaps 10,000 were bundled up at the end. A rainout Sunday forced the twinbill.

Battered in his first three starts, Lincecum (1-2) allowed one run in five innings and struck out eight, often throwing his fastball past the Mets. The two-time Cy Young Award winner also walked five and gave up four hits in lowering his ERA from 10.54 to 8.20.

Lincecum admits he'd been overthinking his recent outings.

"Your head's spinning and you're going to 50 different answers trying to get one," he said.

"We get caught up in negatives so easily," he added, "and forget about the positives."

Lincecum got help on his 108th and final pitch. With the bases loaded, one out and the Giants ahead by five runs, Ike Davis hit a grounder up the middle. Second baseman Emmanuel Burris stopped the ball and made a backhanded flip with his glove to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who barehanded the toss and turned a terrific double play.

Lincecum won his fourth straight start against the Mets, never permitting more than one run in any of them. Shaky in the first inning this year, he struck out three of the first five batters.

Miguel Batista (0-1) lasted only 3 2-3 innings in a spot start. The 41-year-old righty began the game by pitching out of the stretch — fittingly, the Giants had runners on base against him all day.

"I missed my location I would say three times, cost me two runs," Batista said. "Posey hit a good pitch, I was surprised. The other guy, it was right down the middle."

Pablo Sandoval hit an RBI single in the first, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Posey followed with his home run.

Schierholtz hit a three-run homer in the third, set up by Davis' error at first base with two outs and none on. Schierholtz also tripled and singled and Crawford added an RBI double.

Mike Baxter doubled home the Mets' run in the second after a two-out walk.

New York lost for the fourth time in five games.

NOTES: Marlins SS Jose Reyes makes his return to Citi Field on Tuesday night when Miami visits the Mets. "He was a dynamic, exciting player for us. I think he deserves a warm reception from our fans," Mets GM Sandy Alderson said. "I hope he gets a good reception." ... Johan Santana (0-2, 3.97 ERA), pushed back a day by the rainout, starts for the Mets on Tuesday against Marlins ace Josh Johnson (0-2, 5.94).