It just wasn't the White Sox shortstop they expected.
Tyler Saladino, starting in place of longtime Mets nemesis Jimmy Rollins, reached base in all four plate appearances Tuesday and hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning as the White Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak with a come-from-behind 6-4 win at Citi Field.
Saladino, who reached base four times for the first time in 93 big league games, walked in the second and singled in the fourth for the White Sox, who were being blanked 4-0 by Mets left-hander Steven Matz entering the sixth.
But Todd Frazier's two-run homer cut the deficit in half and Saladino created a third run with two outs, when he walked and stole second and third base on consecutive pitches before trotting home on a single by Dioner Navarro that chased Matz.
"He had a great game," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Stealing a couple bags and getting in position (so) you sneak one back because he's aggressive and smart on the bases. Good job by him."
Mets ace right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who was available out of the bullpen because he only threw 34 pitches before being ejected in his last start Saturday night, threw nine pitches at 100 mph or higher in a scoreless seventh before the White Sox finished their comeback in the eighth.
Melky Cabrera drew a leadoff walk against Hansel Robles (0-3), who struck out Avisail Garcia before Saladino hit a long two-run homer to left.
"It was just a team hit right there," Saladino said. "Felt really good for the guys rounding third."
Once he got to the dugout, Saladino found an enthusiastic Rollins waiting for him. Rollins, who spent the first 15 seasons of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, has played 249 games against the Mets, most among active players. He has 33 homers, 122 RBIs and 64 stolen bases against the Mets, all his highest figures versus any opponent.
"He definitely had some extra firm high-fives there," Saladino said with a grin. "I haven't gotten one like that from him."
Rollins produced an insurance run himself later in the eighth, when he drew a two-out walk stole second base and scored on Brett Lawrie's single.
"You can't walk guys, especially late in the game," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Winning pitcher Dan Jennings (2-1) allowed one hit in the seventh while Nate Jones and David Robertson (13th save) each threw a perfect inning to close out the White Sox's fourth win in their last 20 games. Chicago moved back into second place in the AL Central, two games behind the Kansas City Royals.
"Good job by everybody," Ventura said. "The easiest thing to do is to complain and not fight back. I think these guys are continuing to grind, play hard. It can look bleak. You've got a guy like Matz pitching the way he's pitching and you can just lay down. But they won't do it."
White Sox right-hander Mat Latos allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks while striking out five over five innings.
The Mets took a 4-0 lead against Latos via first- and second-inning sacrifice flies by Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson and a third-inning two-run homer by Neil Walker. The Cespedes and Granderson sacrifice flies were set up by errors on the third baseman Frazier, who dropped a relay throw on a potential double play in the first and overthrew first base in the second.
Walker finished 2-for-4 for the Mets (29-22), who fell two games behind the Washington Nationals in the National League East.
Matz's seven-start winning streak was snapped after he allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out three over 5 2/3 innings. He was trying to become the first Mets pitcher to win eight straight starts since Bobby Jones in 1997.
"Threw one bad pitch and I paid for it," Matz said. "That's baseball sometimes."
NOTES: The Mets officially activated 1B James Loney, whom they acquired from the Padres on Saturday. Loney went 0-for-4 and committed an error. To make room for Loney on the 25-man and 40-man rosters, the Mets optioned INF Eric Campbell to Triple-A Las Vegas and designated RHP Jeff Walters for assignment. ... Mets 3B David Wright (herniated disk in his neck) missed his fourth straight game. Wright received a shot to alleviate the pain and the Mets are hoping he can be available after Thursday's off-day. ... White Sox CF Austin Jackson (turf toe) sat out his second straight game, but manager Robin Ventura said he hopes Jackson can play after Thursday's off-day. ... The Mets are the only team that White Sox RHP Mat Latos has faced in each of his eight big league seasons.