Instead, the Mets' 31st game turned out to be a showcase for the lesser Giants and a demonstration or how poorly the Mets can fare when their pitching is inadequate, their defense flawed and their offense insufficient.
Their 9-4 loss Monday night was nothing less than a comprehensive kaput that included errors on successive plays, an unfavorable call and nine runs -- all in one inglorious inning. The Mets have played uglier innings, though none readily come to mind.
Bonds played a bit part in the overwhelming inning -- he walked and scored -- and Zito, in his first appearance against the Mets, emerged as the winning pitcher in a pedestrian six-inning performance.
It was Bengie Molina, the catcher with a surname all-too-familiar to the Mets, who did them in. "Another give-away game," Willie Randolph called it, and no one questioned his assessment.
Molina did hit two home runs -- one with a man on base, the other with two on -- in the most damaging inning the Mets have endured in slightly more than three seasons. But the Mets manager hardly lamented the opposing catcher's production other than to tie it to the home run Yadier Molina, Bengie's brother, hit to decide Game 7 of the NLCS last season.
"[The Molina brothers] have made an impact, that's for sure," Randolph said through a snorting smirk.
He was more aware of -- and sensitive to -- his own players' missteps: errors Damion Easley and Shawn Green committed on successive plays with two outs in the fifth and the inability of Oliver Perez to put a tourniquet on the inning.
"We had to stop the bleeding," Randolph said.
The errors led to hemorrhaging. A two-run home run by Rich Aurilia immediately followed the fly ball Green lost in the lights and was unable to catch. After a walk to Bonds, a single by Ray Durham and a pitching change -- Perez to Lino Urdaneta -- Molina became the first Giant in 30 years to hit two home runs in one inning."
"We should gave been out of that inning trailing 2-1," Easley said. "The floodgates opened due to my error."
Easley had botched a backhand behind the bag following Zito's first National League hit, a two-out, bases-empty single.
"I take full responsibility," Easley added. But Randolph directed some blame toward his starting pitcher, saying, "You still have to get out of it."
And Perez agreed: "The errors are part of the game."
Perez applied that phrase to the errors, Zito's hit and even to the questionable call by third-base umpire Mark Wegman on Molina's first home run. The ball, hit to left-center field, appeared to pass through the arms of a fan and strike near, but not at, the top of the wall. It caromed away, and Moises Alou retrieved it. But the ensuing relay had no more impact than Randolph's questioning.
"Without the fan touching it, Wegner's got the ball off for a home run," crew chief Bruce Froemming said. "We discussed it, [Wegner] told us what he saw. That was the end of the deal. Willie contended that maybe a fan reached over and touched the ball in the stadium and everything."
Alou said Froemming quoted a ground rule to him, something about a metal bar behind the wall. But the Mets left fielder was sure the ball never passed over the wall.
Alou wondered, "How can [Wegner] make a call from there?"
Perez -- like Zito, 3-3 -- allowed five hits and two walks in his 4 2/3-inning workday. Zito was responsible for seven of the Mets' 10 hits and three of their four runs. Urdaneta, who had reduced his career ERA from infinity to 81.00 Sunday, retired one batter Monday night, and even with the one run he allowed, he reduced it again -- to 63.00.
Otherwise, the Mets did little in the first of their 13 games in California this season. David Wright had two hits and might have had a third if not for Omar Vizquel. Easley and Green had two hits each that didn't offset their defense. And they all fell victim to the "other" Giants.
"[Bonds is] not the only one," Randolph said. "We held him, and look what happened."
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.