Noah Syndergaard pitched Clayton Kershaw to a draw tonight, but the Mets finally caught some breaks at the plate and strung together a small-ball run in the ninth to eke out a 2-1 win tonight in Los Angeles to open a crucial west coast swing.
Syndergaard showed a national television audience that he was equal to the task of matching up with last year's Cy Young Award winner. He went six strong innings, allowing only two hits and two walks while striking out six. His only real mistake was an 88 MPH change-up which didn't fade away enough to Adrian Gonzalez in the second, and A-Gon parked it over the wall in dead center. Otherwise, he was really impressive, with his heater sitting at 98 and a nasty late-biting curve which he pretty much put where he wanted whenever he wanted.
The Mets scraped out a run on Kershaw in the fourth when John Mayberry, Jr. bounced a double down the third-base line, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a Wilmer Flores chopper that snuck through a drawn-in infield.
Flores (3-for-4) also came up in the ninth with Lucas Duda on second after a dunker double just inside the left field line with none out. Familiarly, he chased an 0-2 breaking ball out of the zone, but unfamiliarly he put bat on ball, however weakly, producing a nubber back to the mound that eluded the plodding Kenley Jansen for a gift hit. Duda advanced to third on the play, and scored when Kevin Plawecki skied a deep fly to left-center.
The Mets shut down lightning rod Yasiel Puig in key situations all night, as Duda made a diving play on a Puig grounder in the fourth, freezing Justin Turner at third, and beat Puig to the bag (pictured). Syndergaard struck him out on his 107th and last pitch of the night with two out and two on in the sixth. And Jeurys Familia got him to sky out in the ninth en route to the soon-to-be All-Star closer's 22nd save. Hansel Robles got credited with the win as a reward for two excellent bridge innings.
Somehow, some way, the Mets find themselves only 2.5 games out of the second wild card spot with another nationally broadcast game tomorrow featuring another tasty pitching matchup—Matt Harvey vs. Zack Greinke. Happy birthday, America.
You can find tonight's box score and video highlights here.
Full happy recap is here.
GameThread Roll Call
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