Five-year-old Shawon Dunston Jr. skipped through the dugout, accepting congratulations and beaming with excitement. His father had just made him proud.
Dunston's homer was a three-run pinch-hit shot in the sixth, just his second since joining the Giants in a July 23 trade from Cleveland. He has seen little action for the Giants, hitting just .162 heading into Thursday's game.
When Dunston homered, his son was attending to batboy chores in the dugout. He quickly headed to the field for a hug from dad, who grabbed him with glee after crossing home plate.
"That's a nice feeling. I just wanted to cry," Dunston said. "My son's seeing everyone hit home runs and his daddy hasn't been playing much recently. That was probably the greatest moment of my career as an individual."
Burks, hitting .364 since joining the Giants in a July 31 trade with the Rockies, hit his 19th homer and add an RBI single. Kent added his 23rd homer of the season.
enjoy hitting in the fifth and sixth spots," Burks said. "There was a lot more to hitting second, where I did in Colorado. Now I can go up free-swinging and guys are always on base."
San Francisco's Ellis Burks slides past Mets catcher Mike Piazza duing the Giants' 11-3 victory on Thursday. (AP)
Bill Mueller added a two-run double for the Giants, who took two out of three games against New York to move a game behind the Mets in the race for the wild card. The Chicago Cubs, who had a night game at Colorado, began the day a game behind New York.
"We needed to win this one because it's the last shot at the Mets, and it gets us to one (back) instead of three as we get closer to the finish line," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "We're back in the thick of things and we need to keep pushing."
The Mets, who have 19 of their remaining 28 games on the road, head to Los Angeles for a four-game series against the Dodgers.
"From the looks of it, it's going to be a tight (wild-card) race and it'll probably go down to the end," New York's Mike Piazza said. "This was a big series here, and we were unable to mount a consistent offense."
Piazza hit his 25th homer, a two-run shot, in the sixth. He went 3-for-3, including a pair of singles.
The Mets also scored in the fourth when Brian McRae hit into a bases-loaded double play. McRae, 1-for-27 in his career against Danny Darwin, had been the fifth-toughest player to double up in the NL.
Darwin pitched 5 2/3 strong innings for just his second win since June 8 and drove in his first run of the season for the Giants, who have won five of six.
Darwin (8-10), who had lost seven of his previous eight decisions, allowed three runs on six hits.
Darwin, who had just two hits in 42 at-bats this season entering the game, had an RBI single as the Giants scored three in the third. The 42-year-old right-hander also had an infield single in the fifth to boost his season average from .048 to .091.
Burks, who went 3-for-5, hit a solo shot into the center-field bleachers in the Giants' four-run fifth. Marvin Benard's single later in the inning knocked out Armando Reynoso (5-1), and Mueller greeted reliever Greg McMichael with his double.
Dunston homered in the sixth off McMichael. Kent led off the seventh with a homer off Mel Rojas.
Reynoso, who missed the first half of the season while recovering from arm surgery, had won all five of his previous starts this season. He gave up seven runs on 10 hits and five walks in 4 2/3 innings, raising his ERA from 1.54 to 2.95.
"Reynoso couldn't get any strikes called," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "It forced him into the plate and they got hits. I guess he was due for that because he had been pitching well lately."
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