The Mets combined a strong outing from Noah Syndergaard and an offensive flurry to take Game 3 of the World Series. The game—played in front of the largest crowd in Citi Field history—started off rough, but ended exactly as you’d want, with David Wright throwing out the final batter of the game.
Noah Syndergaard made his presence known with the first pitch of the game, which was up and in to Alcides Escobar, a purpose pitch that was hilariously unconvincingly denied by Travis d’Arnaud in a post-game interview. Many Royals, most visibly Mike Moustakas, seemed to take real umbrage with this move, and continued to draw attention to it in their postgame interviews. That at-bat ended with a strikeout, and it appeared that Syndergaard was going to have a little more luck than his fellow Mets starts did with striking out Royals.
Sadly, the very next batter changed the tone of the game. After getting what surely looked like strike 3, home plate umpire Mike Winters called it a ball, allowing Ben Zobrist to drive a double to the wall and, eventually score, on an Eric Hosmer fielder’s choice.
Luckily, the Captain had other things in mind. After a Curtis Granderson single, David Wright hit an absolute moonshot to left field off of starting pitcher Yordano Ventura. It was reminiscent of Wright’s first at-bat off the Disabled List earlier this season, where he hit a bomb that still might not have landed in Philadelphia. From that moment on, the game felt like it was going to be a wild one, and one that would be a nail biter until the end.
The second inning was a bit of a mess for Syndergaard. Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, and Alex Rios all hit singles, with Rios driving in Perez with his. Luckily for the Mets, a play on the field was overturned, and Gordon was called out going first to third after Wright tagged him on his helmet before getting his hand on the base. Ventura was up next, and bunted Rios over to third (he had taken second on the throw to Wright), and he scored on a passed ball by Travis d’Arnaud.
The Mets went quietly in the bottom of the second, as did the Royals in the top of the third. When the bottom of the third started, Snydergaard helped his own cause by dunking a breaking ball into right field. The next batter was Granderson, and he hit a rocket that just cleared the fence in the right field corner.
That would wind up being enough offense if the Mets hadn’t scored again, but that wasn’t the case - in the fourth, Lucas Duda beat the shift by singling to left, a d’Arnaud double down the left field line followed, and Duda eventually scored on a Michael Conforto infield single. Wilmer Flores popped out, and with the left-handed hitting pitcher coming up, Ned Yost pulled Ventura from the game, instead bringing in left-hander Danny Duffy to face Syndergaard and Granderson. The plan worked, but it seemed a bit silly to give a relieve an extra out to put away the pitcher, even if he can swing the bat a little bit. The fourth inning ended with the score 5-3.
In the top of the fifth, Raul Mondesi Jr. became the first player in Major League history to debut in the World Series, but his place in the history books is significantly lesser than he hoped for, as Syndergaard made short work of him, striking him out on four pitches. Syndergaard made equally short work of Escobar and Zobrist, and looked to really hit his stride.
After Luke Hochevar set down the Mets in the top of the sixth, Syndergaard attempted to follow suit, striking out both Lorenzo Cain and Hosmer. However, Moustakas singled, Perez and Gordon walked, and all of a sudden Syndergaard was over 100 pitches and had the bases loaded. However, Terry Collins showed a lot of confidence in his young ace, allowing him to stay in the game, and the next batter, Rios, grounded out to Wilmer Flores.
The Mets must’ve been emboldened by the power of Syndergaard’s half inning, because they came alive in the bottom half against new pitcher Franklin Morales. Juan Lagares came in for Michael Conforto and got on base with a hard hit single and Wilmer Flores got hit by a pitch, which set the stage for an epic return.
Juan Uribe, who has not seen game action since September, hit a line drive to right field to knock in Lagares. Granderson then reached on a fielder’s choice - an extraordinarily nice way to say boneheaded play - initiated by Morales, which saw him fake to second, fake to home, look to first, and then throw it wide of second base. Yost then called upon Kelvin Herrera, who promptly gave up a two run single to Wright, a walk to Murphy, and a sac fly to Yoenis Cespedes, before striking out Duda.
From there on out, the bullpens did what they were supposed to do. The Mets managed only a single against former Phillie Ryan Madson in the seventh, and went quietly against former Brave Kris Medlen in the eighth. The Mets threw their three back end pitchers (Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia) in a row, and all three worked perfect frames to bring the game in for a nice, soft landing.
This team finally showed some offensive muscle, and Syndergaard seemed genuinely unafraid against the Royals, something that couldn’t have been said for either Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom. Let’s hope that Steven Matz has the same sort of approach against former Met Chris Young tomorrow night.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Noah Syndergaard, David Wright, Curtis Granderson
Big losers: Franklin Morales, folks who hate pitchers throwing at players
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wright's majestic two-run homer
Teh sux0rest play: The top of the second inning as a whole
Total pitcher WPA: -.068
Total batter WPA: .568
GWRBI!: Curtis Granderson