Noah Syndergaard threw his quintessential 2018 start: terrific, but not dominant and just effective enough to come away with a win. Of course, some Mets power, some of it unlikely, helped him out a little on this rainy day in Miami.
The Mets got their first tally without benefit of a base hit. Wei-Yin Chen started for the Marlins and allowed a leadoff walk to Amed Rosario — a neat trick, actually. Rosario immediately stole second. He crossed over to third on Austin Jackson’s fly ball to right and scored on a Wilmer Flores fly to right center. Miami followed a similar blueprint in the bottom of the first. Left fielder Rafael Ortega shot a ball down the first base line that was destined for extra bases, but it clipped first base umpire Gabe Morales and Ortega was just able to eke out a single. Then he stole second. He had to hold when Miguel Rojas grounded back to the box, but he was able to score on Starlin Castro’s line single to left. Here’s where the power came in on the Mets’ side, though.
After Todd Frazier was called out on strikes leading off the second. Jose Bautista hit a tough grounder to third. Martin Prado’s throw was excellent, but was dropped by first baseman Derek Dietrich. After Kevin Plawecki flied out, Jose Reyes, of all people, clouted a deep shot over the left field fence for a 3-1 Mets lead. Syndergaard would hold that in place until the fourth. With one out and nobody on, right fielder Brian Anderson singled to right. He was forced at second on a Dietrich grounder to Frazier at third. Martin Prado then hit a grounder through the box to put two men on. Bryan Holaday hit a liner just in front of Michael Conforto in left field and the game was suddenly 3-2. Syndergaard escaped further damage when Magneuris Sierra lined out to Jackson in center.
Things calmed down again until the sixth, when Conforto clubbed a shot into the right field seats. The Marlins would close the gap again, though, in ther bottom of the inning, when Syndergaard’s ol’ bugaboo — the stolen base — would trip him up. With two outs, he had Martin Prado at an even 2-2 count. He then threw a fastball precisely on the inside corner. Home plate umpire Ramon Dejesus disagreed and called “ball three” — Syndergaard’s firs three-ball count of the day. Prado walked on the next pitch. He stole second with Holaday at the plate and scored when the Miami catcher drilled a base hit up the middle. Sierra reached when a rattled Syndergaard rushed a throw on a slow grounder, pulling Flores off the bag. Pitching coach David Eiland came out and settled Syndergaard enough to retire pinch-hitter JT Riddle on a fly ball to center. Syndergaard was able to last through the seventh, another bad ball/strike call prompting another Eiland mound visit along the way. Robert Gsellman pitched the eighth, allowing only a single by Prado. There was high drama in the ninth, though, as J. T. Realmuto led off against Seth Lugo with a pinch hit single. With the count 3-2, Ortega hit a bouncer to Reyes at second, who made a quick flip to Rosario, who fired to Flores to nip the speedy Ortega by half-a-step. This loomed large when Rojas hit a bullet up the middle. Finally, Lugo was able to get Castro to ground to Frazier and the Mets had the rubber game of this series.
They’ll make a quick stop at Yankee Stadium tomorrow for a makeup game, and it should be a dandy: Jacob deGrom vs. Luis Severino.