Matz sharp, Mets feast on Dodgers pitching to take series
Steven Matz is having the time of his young baseball life, winning his first two career starts, including silencing the Los Angeles Dodgers' powerful lineup.
Matz scattered two hits over six scoreless innings, Wilmer Flores went 4 for 5, and the New York Mets won 8-0 Sunday to take two out of three from the NL West leaders.
''The Dodgers have a really good team,'' Matz said, ''so it was good to win the series and I think it will definitely give us momentum going into San Francisco.''
Matz (2-0) struck out eight and walked two in a strong follow-up to winning his major-league debut a week ago against Cincinnati. His 14 strikeouts after two games are the second-most by any Met, trailing only Matt Harvey's 18 in 2012.
The left-hander had a run-scoring groundout in a three-run fourth that made it 4-0, giving him five RBI in two games, tying him for the most by any Mets pitcher in a two-game span.
''It's been a lot of fun. It's been great,'' Matz said. ''It's been a good learning experience so far, and I just want to keep learning and trying to get better. Today was a little bit different. I kind of know what it feels like now, so I just tried to relax and pitch.''
Matz credited his fastball with being his best pitch.
''The curve ball was so-so, but I was able to work with the fastball late in the count, especially up, and get some swings and misses on that,'' he said.
Logan Verrett earned the first save of his career with three scoreless innings to end the game.
Mike Bolsinger (4-3) gave up four runs and a season-high nine hits in five innings, his fifth consecutive outing of less than six innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked two while throwing a career-high 101 pitches. After winning his first four starts at home, he's lost two in a row at Dodger Stadium.
''A little unlucky,'' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Bolsinger. ''He hung in there. I didn't think it was that bad. He wasn't getting squared up all over the yard. He kind of limited the damage.''
New York had 15 hits — one off its season high — against the Dodgers' struggling pitching in their worst shutout loss of the season that also equaled their largest margin of defeat.
The Mets' eight runs were their most since June 14, when they had 10, and they earned their first shutout against the Dodgers since June 30, 2012.
Flores had a career-high four hits while driving in three runs and finished the three-game series 10 for 13. His single to Kike Hernandez in the fourth resulted in the Dodgers shortstop rolling over on his head with his legs splayed in the air in a fruitless attempt to field the ball.
''Some of the guys are starting to break out,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ''Wilmer's really starting to swing the bat right now. He's hitting the ball to right field and he's not trying to pull things. When they're pitching him away, he's taking them the other way, and that's what good hitters have to do.''
Juan Lagares had a two-run triple and Ruben Tejada added an RBI single off reliever Juan Nicasio in the seventh when the Mets led 7-0. Yasiel Puig lost Lagares' hit in the sun and then overran it, stretching himself to the limit as the ball landed behind him in right field.
Michael Cuddyer was hitless in five at-bats in his return to the Mets' starting lineup after being out four games because of a knee injury, although he came off the bench in the last two.
The Dodgers mustered just three hits. After A.J. Ellis' leadoff single in the fifth, they had just two runners reach base the rest of the game.
''Early on we kind of chased out of the zone,'' Mattingly said. ''The ball was taking off a little bit and as the game went on his (Matz's) command got better.''
Puig went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and rookie Joc Pederson was hitless in three at-bats with a strikeout.
THROUGH THE GATES
The Dodgers became the first major-league team to reach 2 million in attendance, with 2,004,009 through 43 home games.
Dodgers: 1B Adrian Gonzalez left after three innings with a bruised right hand. He got hit by a pitch from Matz, although Gonzalez said he expects to play Monday. ... RHP Carlos Frias went on the 15-day DL retroactive to Wednesday with lower back tightness, a problem he had in his previous two starts, going only five innings in both. An MRI showed no structural damage in his back.
Mets: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-8, 3.90 ERA) starts in the series opener at San Francisco. He hasn't earned a win in a career-high nine straight outings and has lost a career-high-tying six consecutive decisions.
Dodgers: They had yet to announce a starter to replace Frias in the opener of a four-game series against Philadelphia. LH Eric Surkamp was to be called up from the minors, but Mattingly refused to confirm he would start.