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Thor, McNeil, and a birthday boy help Mets beat Reds

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Jeff McNeil and birthday boy Wilmer Flores backed Noah Syndergaard in Monday’s win.

Atlanta Braves v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Though things got a little dicey at the end, the Mets topped the Reds 6-4 in the first game of their three-game series. Noah Syndergaard was brilliant for most of the night before being over-extended and running into troubles in the seventh. Wilmer Flores had a big day on his birthday, going 3-for-4 with the game-winning RBI, while Jeff McNeil continued to state his case for the 2019 second base job with a three-hit performance of his own, including his second home run of the year.

win-6-4-farnsworth

The Mets got their offense working early against Homer Bailey, with singles from Amed Rosario, McNeil, and Flores leading to a run before an out had been recorded in the bottom of the first. Todd Frazier and Austin Jackson added RBI singles of their own to build the Mets a 3-0 lead. Kevin Plawecki added more insurance in the fourth with a leadoff home run, and Flores had another RBI single later in the inning to stretch the lead to five runs.

Early on, that looked like more than enough run support for Syndergaard. He worked around singles in the first, second, and third to keep the Reds off the board before recording his first 1-2-3 inning in the fourth. Against an underrated Reds offense, Thor looked much better than in his first start back from the disabled list, striking out five in the first five innings and allowing only three hits and a walk.

Syndergaard danced around another single in the top of the sixth, and McNeil launched a monstrous home run into the second deck in right field to stretch the Met lead to six. With a hefty lead and Syndergaard cruising at only 88 pitches, Mickey Callaway chose to push his starter into the seventh inning. Suffice to say, things did not go as planned.

Tucker Barnhart grounded out on the first pitch of the inning, but Syndergaard proceeded to hit the next two batters and allow a single to Billy Hamilton that loaded the bases and put him in some hot water. Jose Peraza followed with a single that drove in the first Cincinnati run, and that was the end of Syndergaard’s outing.

Bobby Wahl entered and walked in a run (to be fair, he walked Joey Votto) before striking out Scooter Gennett. Callaway then double-switched in Luis Guillorme and Robert Gsellman, and the latter promptly served up a two run single to Eugenio Suarez that cut the Met lead to 6-4. The single also closed the book on Syndergaard, who went 6.1 innings and was charged with four runs on six hits and a walk, striking out six.

Gsellman finally managed to record the last out of the seventh, and it seemed we were set for an exciting finish. Instead, nothing much happened over the last four frames; the Mets managed only one hit, an infield single from Luis Guillorme, and Gsellman and Blevins combined to not allow a Red baserunner in the eighth and the ninth. Blevins put down the Reds in order in the top of the ninth to record his first save of the season.

The win improves the Mets to 46-64 on the season, putting them on an almost-nice 68-win pace. Jason Vargas and his 8.23 ERA take the mound against Sal Romano tomorrow in game two of the series.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Noah Syndergaard, +14.8% WPA; Jeff McNeil, +11.4% WPA;
Big losers: None
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff McNeil singles on a ground ball to right in the first, +9.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Eugenio Suarez drives in two with a single in the seventh, -9.0% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +26.0% WPA
Total batter WPA: +24.0% WPA
GWRBI!: Wilmer Flores