Mets begin road trip with 2-1 win over Dodgers
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Noah Syndergaard is growing up quickly in the major leagues.
He made one giant leap along that path Friday night, dueling reigning NL MVP Clayton Kershaw on even terms during his six innings on the mound.
Syndergaard held the Los Angeles Dodgers to just two hits, and batterymate Kevin Plawecki drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to help the Mets start their six-game road trip with a 2-1 victory.
''It was an unbelievable experience, right from the get-go when I stepped out there,'' Syndergaard said. ''It was a great atmosphere to play in, a very cool stadium. And to step on the same mound as Clayton Kershaw, who's won three Cy Young Awards, was awesome cool. It was a lot of fun to actually face him.''
The 22-year-old right-hander remained winless in five starts on the road despite his solid 107-pitch effort, which included six strikeouts and two walks. Syndergaard has 59 strikeouts through his first 10 big league starts, fourth in Mets history behind Dwight Gooden (80), Nolan Ryan (78) and Matt Harvey (70).
''His stuff speaks for itself,'' Dodgers left fielder Andre Ethier said. ''You can see on the TV and watching the game, he's got really electric stuff - a high-90s fastball, and he has an idea of how to mix in his curveball and changeup and throw them for strikes. When you are able to do that and throw that hard, you can keep guys off-balance.''
Kershaw, 5-0 with a 1.62 ERA in seven previous starts against the Mets, allowed a run and five hits over seven innings and struck out seven in his first start against them in more than two years. He is 4-2 in nine starts this season when allowing fewer than three earned runs.
''I think that's been an unfair thing, kind of the tone of the year every time Kershaw takes the mound,'' Ethier said. ''It doesn't matter who the other guy is on the mound for the other team. He always seems to step up his game. For the most part, Kershaw did his job, but the offense let him down a little bit by not figuring out a way to squeak out a run and get him a decision in that game.''
Lucas Duda blooped a double just inside the left field line leading off the ninth against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen (2-1). Wilmer Flores followed with a single off Jansen's glove as the right-hander tried to backhand the ball. Duda then scored on Plawecki's flyball to center field.
''We haven't had any breaks in a long time, so to catch a couple is huge for us,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ''But you've got to tip your hat to Noah today. I mean, going head to head with the best pitcher in the game and holding his own was pretty impressive.''
Hansel Robles (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory and Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 24 chances. The Mets remained 3 1-2 games behind NL East-leading Washington following the Nationals' victory over San Francisco. The Giants' loss kept the Dodgers three games ahead of the defending World Series champions in the West Division.
Adrian Gonzalez homered to center leading off the second, which raised his season total to 14 and the Dodgers' NL-leading total to 103. That ended a string of 11 consecutive innings in which Syndergaard did not allow an extra-base hit.
The Mets, held to one run during their three-game sweep by the Cubs, tied it in the fourth. John Mayberry Jr. led off with a double, advanced on a wild pitch and scored when Flores slapped a grounder through the right side of a drawn-in infield.
Howie Kendrick reached on a one-out fielding error by Syndergaard in the sixth and stole second, ending a streak of 23 consecutive games by the Dodgers without a stolen base since June 7 - the longest by the franchise since 1900.
Turner walked, but Gonzalez lined out to center field and Yasiel Puig struck out.
''I knew they were an aggressive lineup, so I just pounded the zone as often as possible,'' Syndergaard said. ''I was able to get some quick outs and some outs in some key situations.''
Duda made back-to-back diving stops at first base on grounders in the hole by Gonzalez and Puig in the fourth inning to help prevent the Dodgers from scoring after a leadoff double by Turner.
Turner was 1 for 3 with a walk and made a slick play at third base to rob Daniel Murphy of a hit in the fifth, helping end his streak of reaching base in 17 straight games. Turner spent three-plus seasons with the Mets before signing a minor league contract with the Dodgers in February 2014. Before Friday's game, he received an award at home plate as the Dodgers' player of the month after batting .300 in June with six homers and 17 RBIs.
A LONG TIME COMING
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no Mets rookie has defeated a reigning Cy Young winner since April 17, 1968, when Jerry Koosman beat San Francisco's Mike McCormick 3-0 in the Mets' home opener with a complete-game seven-hitter.
Mets: RHP Matt Harvey (7-5) is 2-5 with a 3.29 ERA in his last 10 starts, after going 5-0 with a 2.41 ERA in his first five. His only previous outing at Dodger Stadium was Aug. 13, 2013, a 4-2 loss. Harvey made only two more starts before elbow problems forced him to miss the rest of that season and led to Tommy John surgery, which sidelined him for 2014.
Dodgers: RHP Zack Greinke (6-2) pitched 7 2-3 innings last Sunday in a 2-0 victory at Miami after a winless stretch of nine starts in which he was 0-2 with a 1.79 ERA. His last win at Dodger Stadium was April 27, when he beat San Francisco 7-3.