NEW YORK -- Back in New York for the second time since a 2011 trade, Angel Pagan showed the Mets what they have been missing since they dealt him away. He also reminded the Giants what they were without for 82 games this season.
The center fielder had his best game since returning from hamstring surgery, reaching base five times to spark an 8-4 win over the Mets at Citi Field. Pagan had two walks, a single, triple and his first homer since an inside-the-park job May 25 that was his final play before having a damaged tendon removed from his hamstring.
"I worked hard for this, I worked hard to get back," Pagan said. "I feel just as fast as before and I'll keep working on it, so I'll be back to normal. I wanted to come back strong and help the team finish strong. I know we're not going to the postseason, but we can use this year to get ready for next year."
Pagan is doing just that, hitting .368 since coming off the disabled list Aug. 30 and helping the Giants to an 11-7 record. They went 31-51 while Pagan was sidelined.
"You have to deal with injuries and good teams are able to overcome them," manager Bruce Bochy said. "But he changes our club, no question about it. I think we'd be in a better situation than what we are right now if we would have had Angel."
Pagan wasn't the only player facing his former team Tuesday night. The Giants had just three hits against Zach Wheeler, the top pitching prospect they traded away for Carlos Beltran two seasons ago. But Wheeler walked a career-high six, including four of the first five Giants in the second inning.
The fourth walk was of pitcher Yusmeiro Petit and gave the Giants a 1-0 lead. A single by Pagan and groundout by Gregor Blanco put the Giants up 3-0, but Petit couldn't make the lead hold up.
Petit was the top pitching prospect in the Mets system in 2005 and has been a revelation for the Giants eight years later. He entered the game with a 2.36 ERA in four starts but gave up a run in the third and three more in the fourth.
The Giants tied the game in the fifth on a walk, sacrifice, single and groundout. Wheeler gave up one run over seven innings in his first start against the Giants this season, but was charged with four runs in five innings Tuesday.
"He had trouble getting the ball where he wanted," Bochy said. "That was the difference. He's got great stuff but we took advantage of the walks."
Pagan's seventh-inning homer gave the Giants the lead and they added two more runs in the eighth and one in the ninth en route to their fourth straight win. The four-game winning streak is their first since a season-best six-game streak from April 29 to May 5. Pagan was part of that streak before getting hurt, and he said he came back to help the club use September as a springboard to a 2014 recovery.
"We can all see that we're good, that we're a championship team," he said. "This year happened to be a tough one with injuries and ups and downs, but that happens to every team. We're playing pretty good right now and that's what we've got to remember before next season."
Bochy said the Giants are confident that Scutaro will hold up next season, the second of a three-year deal.
"We think in the offseason he can do a lot of core work to help get (his health) back to where it needs to be," Bochy said.
Giants (Matt Cain 8-9) at
N.Y. Mets (Aaron Harang 5-12),
4:10 p.m., CSNBA