Through the first five games of this road trip, the New York Mets sweated out a number of close contests while picking up victories in four out of five tries. On the final day before returning home to Citi Field, the team finally enjoyed an easy victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team put up 13 runs on 16 hits in an afternoon where Noah Syndergaard was once again dominant on the mound.
For the third time this series and the fifth straight time, the Mets scored first against Pittsburgh. The club wasted no time jumping ahead, as Michael Conforto drove Joe Musgrove’s third pitch of the afternoon into the stands just to the right of the grassy Pirates display for his 22nd home run of the season. Following a Todd Frazier strikeout and a Robinson Cano double, J.D. Davis strode to the plate and absolutely annihilated a 1-0 offering from Musgrove for a 449-foot shot to left field. The ball was hit so high that the SNY camera crews had difficulty tracking its trajectory and finding it before it bounced off the fourth level of the spiral walkway. Later in the game, Gary Cohen relayed that Pirates PR confirmed no other player had hit one that far up the vertical structure before.
The team’s three-run first was just the tip of the iceberg, as the club added three-run frames in third and sixth to go along with two-run innings in the fourth and seventh. After both pitchers tossed scoreless second innings, the Mets’ lineup went right back to work on Musgrove in the third inning. Jeff McNeil led off the inning with his 29th double of the season as he hit one away from the shift down the left field line. He advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Pittsburgh elected to keep their infield back already down by three. Conforto failed to drive him home and struck out on a 3-2 breaking ball.
Todd Frazier succeeded where Conforto failed, as he grounded a ball passed the drawn in infield to make it 4-0. The hit broke an 0-for-13 stretch for the team’s third baseman, who was playing first with Pete Alonso getting a scheduled day off before Monday’s doubleheader. Cano followed with a double to drive in Frazier, and Davis kept the hit train rolling with a bloop single over the shortstop’s head to extend the team’s lead to six.
The club kept up the scoring in the fourth. A McNeil hit-by-pitch and Conforto double put runners in scoring position with nobody out, and Frazier replicated his third inning feat with a two-run single to the exact same spot past the drawn in shortstop. The hit marked the end of a disastrous outing for Musgrove, who was tagged for eight earned runs over 3.1 innings. Cano then followed against new Pirates pitcher Yefry Ramirez with this third hit in four innings, but pulled up trying to stretch his single into a double. The helpless Cano clutched at his hamstring and was tagged out while standing in between first and second before hobbling down the dugout stairs. The injury put a damper on the team’s drubbing, as the diagnosis confirmed a left hamstring strain. The news means a likely injured list trip for the 36-year-old, who had picked up nine hits in 15 at-bats prior to suffering the strain.
The injury didn’t slow down the offense, as they put up another three-spot in the sixth. Syndergaard, who was in danger of setting a major league record by striking out two times for the tenth consecutive game, avoided the infamous mark by picking up his second single of the afternoon to open the inning. With the two hits, Syndergaard ensured that Aaron Judge would continue to hold a piece of that record. McNeil followed with a walk, but Conforto and Frazier were each retired following the promising start. Juan Lagares, who took over Cano’s spot in the lineup, looped a doubled into left field to drive in Syndergaard. Following a Davis walk, Rosario knocked two more in on a fielding error by Pirates’ third baseman Colin Moran. The Mets added two runs against Ramirez in the seventh, as McNeil connected on a two-run home run for his 13th long ball of the season. The 13 runs the Mets scored was their second highest mark in 2019.
With so much focus on the offense, it’s time to turn some attention to Syndergaard, whose stellar start was lost in the offensive explosion. Thor got off to a bit of an uneven start, surrendering a single to Bryan Reynolds with one out in the first. He was able to dance around that trouble despite allowing a stolen base to Starling Marte, who replaced Reynolds on the basepaths following a fielder’s choice. Syndergaard issued a two-out walk to Kevin Newman in the second and again allowed the runner to reach second on a stolen base, but he once again kept Pittsburgh off the board.
From there, Syndergaard settled down and retired 14 straight, taking him into the seventh inning. As he has over his last several starts, Syndergaard relied on his slider and was able to keep the Pirates off-balanced at the plate. While he wasn’t quite overpowering, he was efficient with his pitches and was very successful on the mound. Syndergaard tired a bit in the seventh and saw his streak come to an end, as the Pirates pushed a run across and ended his shutout bid. Despite the hiccup, the right-hander completed seven innings for the fifth consecutive start. In the process, he lowered his ERA to 3.95 after hovering in the high fours for much of the season.
Syndergaard’s performance also served to save the bullpen from further exertion heading into Monday’s doubleheader. The club turned to newcomer Donnie Hart, who rewarded his new club with a scoreless eighth inning of work. With the outcome having been decided, the team turned to a scuffling Jeurys Familia in the ninth. He struck out the first two Pirates he faced before serving up a solo home run to Jose Osuna to bring Pittsburgh to within eleven runs. Familia buckled down and retired Melky Cabrera to close out the game.
The win completed a 5-1 road trip, which followed up a 5-1 homestand for the Mets. The team has now won 15 of their 21 games since the All Star break and have climbed to within three games of the second Wild Card spot in the National League. The club will begin a pivotal seven-game home stretch with four against the Miami Marlins. The Mets will turn to Jacob deGrom and Walker Lockett in the day and night games, respectively, on Monday.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: J.D. Davis, 19.0% WPA, Noah Syndergaard, 11.9% WPA
Big losers: None!
Total pitcher WPA: 11,9% WPA
Total batter WPA: 38.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: J.D. Davis first inning two-run home run, 16.6% WPA.
Teh sux0rest play: Bryan Reynolds first inning single, -2.3% WPA.