NEW YORK -- As he prepared for batting practice on the first day of this series, Mets rookie star Pete Alonso smiled and shook his head when asked if he was surprised by Shaun Anderson's quick rise to a big league rotation.
"He's one of those people that if he gets knocked down, he gets right back up and perseveres and figures out what he did wrong and immediately fixes it," Alonso said of his college teammate and friend. "He's extremely resilient and mentally tough."
When his days as a slugging first baseman are over, Alonso might want to become a scout.
Anderson, facing his friend's team for the first time, gave up two solo homers to begin his day. He then walked Alonso in their first big league showdown and allowed a single to Michael Conforto. His start was spinning out of control in the bottom of the first. Two hours later he walked off the mound with a 3-2 lead.
The Giants would lose 7-3 to the Mets, ending their road trip on a sour note, but as they look towards the future, they continue to see positive traits in their top pitching prospect.
"He did a terrific job. He got in a jam and then pitched out of that, and then he settled down and got in a good groove," manager Bruce Bochy said. "What a terrific job he did of keeping his poise out there and giving us a chance to win ... he didn't get unraveled and he competed really well. He came back after that first inning and really settled down. He didn't look fazed by anything. That's always a good sign, especially for a young kid. He's not intimidated by anything."
In the middle of all the trouble, Anderson received a visit from interim pitching coach Matt Herges. He said Herges told him that's all the Mets were going to get, and Anderson ran with the motto. He was charged with three earned in six-plus innings, completing a strong trip. In two starts, Anderson allowed five earned in 13 innings.
Anderson said he simply needed to gather himself after the first four batters Thursday. His recovery even included a small victory over Alonso, who won last year's matchup with a homer in a Triple-A game. In Alonso's second plate appearance, he swung through a good two-strike changeup and walked slowly back to the dugout.
"I knew I needed to locate the ball," Anderson said of his recovery. "I locked it in after that."
Anderson's ability to put the first inning behind him did not lead to a second big league win. The Mets pulled away with four runs off Mark Melancon in the eighth, the decisive blow being a two-run shot by Todd Frazier.
That left the Giants with a 4-5 record on their easiest trip of the year, a journey through Miami, Baltimore and New York.
"You're hoping to do a lot better," Bochy said. "There's no getting around that."
The Giants are who they are, a franchise now down near the bottom of the standings with the likes of the Marlins, Orioles and Mets. But on Thursday, at least they learned a bit more about a young pitcher who looks like part of the solution.