The New York Mets (38-54) rode a three-run first inning and a strong pitching performance by Noah Syndergaard to a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals (47-47) in the second contest of a four-game weekend series at Citi Field.
Noah Syndergaard made his first start since being placed on the disabled list with a strained right index finger on May 26 and worked himself out of a consistent stream of traffic on the bases.
Adam Eaton pulled a 99 MPH fastball into right field to start things off and stole second in the next at-bat. Syndergaard then struck out Juan Soto on another 99 MPH heater and got Anthony Rendon to line out to Cabrera, who tagged the bag to complete the unassisted double play.
Bryce Harper led off the second with an infield hit to that Bautista couldn’t make a play on. Syndergaard responded by striking out Matt Adams on a nasty curve, getting Daniel Murphy to fly out, and inducing a Matt Wieters groundball to leave Harper stranded.
Tanner Roark, the Nats starting pitcher, lined a pitch down the line in right to begin the third that took a fortuitous bounce and ended up being the six-year veteran’s first career triple. Wilmer Difo followed with a double to put the Nats on the board making it a 4-1 game.
Eaton hit a sharp grounder to Rosario who threw quickly to third to get Difo trying to advance for the first out of the third; a very heads-up play that came in handy when Soto singled in the next at-bat. Rendon popped out and Syndergaard struck out Harper on a 92 MPH changeup to end the threat.
Syndergaard walked Adams and Murphy to start the fourth, got Wieters to fly out, allowed a sacrifice bunt moving the runners into scoring position with two outs, but got Difo to fly out to Conforto, escaping another jam.
After Eaton singled to begin the fifth, Syndergaard set down Soto, then gave up a line drive single to Rendon. Bryce Harper then lazily ran out a groundball to short for an inning-ending double play.
Seth Lugo came on to pitch the sixth, ending Noah Syndergaard’s night with a line of five innings pitched with one earned run on seven hits with two walks and three punchouts (75 pitches, 49 for strikes).
Lugo walked Matt Adams and Daniel Murphy to start his night but recovered to strike out Wieters and retire pinch-hitter Brian Goodwin and Wilmer Difo to escape unscathed.
He got the call again in the seventh and struck out Eaton on a disgusting curveball, Soto on another deuce, and got Rendon to groundout to third, finishing his second scoreless inning in relief.
Robert Gsellman came in to pitch the top of the eighth, retired Harper, but allowed a long home run to Matt Adams that landed in the Coca-Cola seats in right, cutting the Mets’ lead to 4-2.
Brandon Nimmo led off the bottom of the first with a well-hit single to right field off of Nats starter Tanner Roark. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a single of his own and the Mets had runners on the corners with no outs.
Jose Bautista singled to left to bring Nimmo home and the Mets took an early, 1-0 lead. With Michael Conforto and Cabrera on the corners with no outs, Flores hit a sacrifice fly to left, bringing home the Mets’ second run of the game.
Devin Mesoraco then lined a first-pitch, opposite field single, scoring Conforto to make it a 3-0 lead. Matthew den Dekker struck out to end the frame.
Amed Rosario led off the second with yet another triple (his third in his last seven games), and Syndergaard helped out his own cause with a single to right to plate the Mets’ fourth run of the evening.
Flores led off the bottom of the third with a base hit to left, but Mesoraco, den Dekker, and Rosario went down in order to leave him stranded.
Nimmo added his second hit of the night, a one-out single, in the fourth and advanced to second on Cabrera’s grounder to second, but was left on the basepaths when Bautista grounded out to end the inning.
Conforto walked to lead off the bottom of the fifth but nothing came of it with Flores, Mesoraco, and den Dekker all coming up empty.
Amed Rosario one-hopped his second extra-base hit of the night over the fence in right-center field for a ground-rule double to start things off in the sixth and stole third later in the inning. Cabrera drew a two-out walk but Bautista struck out to end the frame.
Michael Conforto led off the seventh with an opposite-field single to left and advanced to second when Difo mishandled Flores’ surefire double-play ball. The Mets couldn’t capitalize, as Devin Mesoraco and Ty Kelly struck out consecutively to end the inning.
Rosario sent another hard-hit ball to the reaches of Citi Field, but his liner to right-center field was tracked down and caught by Harper.
Brandon Nimmo laced his third hit of the night past the bag at second with two outs in the eighth but Cabrera struck out to end the inning.
Zack Wheeler (2-6, 4.42 ERA) and the Mets take on Austin Voth, making his MLB debut, and the Washington Nationals at 4:10 PM tomorrow at Citi Field. The game will be televised on WPIX and can be heard on 710 WOR.