Syndergaard strikes out 10 as Mets handle Nationals, 7-3
WASHINGTON (AP) — Noah Syndergaard had far too much time to dwell on allowing 10 runs in his last start. One thought, in particular, continued to surface.
“I wanted to make sure that never happened again,” the New York Mets right-hander said.
There was never a hint it would Monday as Syndergaard pitched seven shutout innings and struck out 10 while the Mets handled the Washington Nationals 7-3.
Jeff McNeil hit a two-run homer for New York, which played a holiday afternoon game about 15 hours after falling at Philadelphia on Sunday night. The Mets remained four games behind the Chicago Cubs for the NL’s second wild-card spot.
The loss ended Washington’s four-game winning streak and denied the Nationals from moving 20 games over .500 for the first time this season. Syndergaard was the easily the biggest reason, allowing three hits without a walk in his first start since yielding that career-high 10 runs against the Cubs on Wednesday.
“He was real good, I mean real good,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “He got us to chase the ball up. Threw a lot more breaking balls than I’ve seen (him) throw before.”
Syndergaard (10-7) allowed a leadoff single to Trea Turner, then retired the next 16 batters. It was Syndergaard’s third 10-strikeout performance of the season and the 17th of his career.
Syndergaard needed only 90 pitches to make it through the seventh. It was the sixth time in seven starts he pitched at least six innings and allowed two runs or less.
“Today was vintage Noah,” Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo said. “This is what he’s extremely capable of on an everytime-he-goes-out-there basis. He was hitting his spots, and with the stuff he has when he’s hitting his spots, good luck up there.”
McNeil was mired in a career-worst 0-for-15 slump before sending Joe Ross’ two-out sinker into the seats in right-center field in the fourth inning. That ignited a five-run rally which included J.D. Davis‘ two-run double to chase Ross (3-4) and Nimmo’s RBI double to greet reliever Austin Voth that made it 7-0.
New York took a 2-0 lead in the second on Joe Panik’s RBI double and Rene Rivera’s run-scoring single.
Ross allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. He surrendered three runs in 25 2/3 innings in five starts in August.
Washington avoided the shutout when former Met Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth off reliever Tyler Bashlor.
Mets: Nimmo (neck) made his first start since May 19 after spending more than three months on the injured list, but is not expected to immediately resume everyday duties. “We’re not exactly sure how much stress all the guys can take at this point,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “To bring Nimmo back and start him every day of the week would be pretty tough.” Nimmo was 1 for 3 with two walks Monday.
Nationals: OF Adam Eaton (bruised knee) started for the first time since getting hit by a pitch Wednesday, but left after two innings and will undergo an MRI exam. “Just standing still, it got tight,” Martinez said. “What got me nervous was he said it was more the back of his knee, which is a hamstring deal. So I didn’t want to take any chances.”
TEASING THE BUFFALO
It was a good enough day for the bleary-eyed Mets that Callaway could pull a prank on Wilson Ramos, who owns a 25-game hitting streak and was out of the lineup after catching Sunday night.
“I had (Jacob) deGrom go up to him when we were up 7-0 and tell him to get ready,” Callaway said. “When he’s not playing, we’ll use him to win a game or get back into a game and he understands that. But we have to be smart. We understand that we like that he has his hitting streak going.”
Mets: DeGrom (8-8, 2.66 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 0.53 ERA in three starts against Washington this season, gets the nod.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (9-5, 2.46) has a 3.24 ERA in 8 1/3 innings over two starts since returning from the injured list last month.