Take away two pitches and the Mets and Nationals might still be playing. Home runs by Curtis Granderson – off the first pitch thrown to him – and Michael Conforto off Max Scherzer were all Noah Syndergaard needed to win, 2-0, Tuesday night.
“I think he rises to the challenge,” Mets manager Terry Collins to reporters about Syndergaard in a classic understatement.
Syndergaard struck out ten to break the Mets’ four-game losing streak to pull them within a half-game of the Nationals. Scherzer, who was coming off a 20-strikeout performance in his previous start, also struck out ten.
The game featured the return of long-time Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy to return. Murphy hit six homers in last year’s postseason before he was signed as a free-agent in the offseason.
“Very nice of them,” Murphy said of two standing ovations.
After that, he was booed.
METS GAME WRAP
May 17, 2016
Game: #38 Score: Mets 2, Nationals 0
Record: 22-16 Streak: W 1
Standings: Second, NL East .5 GB Nationals Playoffs Today: First WC vs. Pittsburgh
Runs: 148 Average: 3.89 Times 3 or less: 17
SUMMARY: Sometimes pitching duels don’t live up to their promise. This one did.
KEY MOMENT: Granderson’s homer in the first.
THUMBS UP: Syndergaard was brilliant, throwing 102 pitches in seven innings. He gave up five hits and didn’t walk a batter. … Granderson reached base in all four plate appearances. … Addison Reed struck out two of the three Nationals he faced. … Jeurys Familia earned his 13th save in as many opportunities.
THUMBS DOWN: None.
EXTRA INNINGS: David Wright was scratched because of sore back and is listed day-to-day. It is the first time this season Wright didn’t play because of his back. I am wondering if his late pinch-hit appearance Sunday after sitting all day might have been a cause. … Lucas Duda didn’t play because of a sore back. He received an injection and the hope is he’ll be able to play Thursday. … Tests showed no ligament damage with Steve Matz. He won’t pitch in this series but could start Friday. I would still save him for next week.
QUOTEBOOK: “Played good because we pitched good.’’ – Collins in as succinct an analysis as possible.
BY THE NUMBERS: 6-0: Mets’ record this year after an off day.