Having lost their last four straight to the miserable Arizona Diamondbacks, with morale at a season’s low and missing their hottest hitter, the Met needed a big performance from Noah Syndergaard in the worst way. They got it on both sides of the plate.
Neil Walker missed this game with lower-back tightness and the already feeble Mets offense figured to be weakened even further. Syndergaard would have none of that. As Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez marveled on the SNY broadcast, “Syndergaard [was] throwing bullets” in the first three innings, touching 101 mph on the radar gun with his fastball, 94 with his changeup. Changeup! In the fourth though, Arizona right fielder Yasmany Tomas redirected one of those bullets over the wall in the left field corner and the Mets trailed 1-0. But a rarely-seen reflexive rally put the Mets in front in the top of the fifth. As a team, in fact, they hit for the cycle in the inning.
T.J. Rivera led off with base hit to right and Alejandro De Aza doubled to left. Rene Rivera hit a deep-enough fly to center and the game was tied. Syndergaard then worked an impressive at-bat against Braden Shipley, hitting a booming homer to right on a 3-2 pitch. Jose Reyes then hit one of those triples, for which he is so famous and Curtis Granderson hit another sac fly do give the Mets a 4-1 lead. In the sixth, Kelly Johnson led off with homer to the same spot as Syndergaard’s blast, T.J. Rivera singled and Alejandro De Aza plated him with his second double of the night. The ball was cuffed around a bit by Tomas in right and De Aza ended up at third. That was all for Mr. Shipley. Danel Hudson came on to get Rene Rivera and Syndergaard to whiff, but Reyes hit an infield single and De Aza scampered home with the Mets’ seventh run.
The Diambondbacks, though, got to Syndergaard in the bottom half. In a truly bizzarro half-inning, T.J. Rivera committed two errors, Syndergaard threw a wild pitch, allowed yet another stolen base, gave up the first major league triple to raw rookie Mitch Haniger and the Mets lost an appeal at first on a disputed base hit by Jean Segura. Synderggard couldn’t get that elusive third out, so Jerry Blevins entered to strike out Michael Bourn and the Mets escaped with a 7-4 lead. Syndrgaard left having surrendered sevehits, four runs and two walks in his five and two-thirds. But he also struck out eight batters. In the seventh, Haniger hit a double with a man on off Addison Reed to bring Arizona to within 7-5, but the rally ended there. Reed and Jeurys Familia pitched a spotless eighth and ninth, respectively and the Mets had a much needed win in the books.
Rubber game of the set on Wednesday and the Mets could — could, mind you — take two series in a row.