By: Paul DiSclafani
The Mets almost wasted a great pitching performance from Noah Syndergaard, letting a 4-1 lead slip away in the 8th inning, only to score two runs in the ninth for a 6-4, comeback win over the Atlanta Braves, their sixth straight. The win, combined with the Nationals being shutout in Miami, increased the Mets lead in the National League East to a whopping 9 ½ games.
The Mets (81-61) have picked up five games over the Nationals in less than a week and have seen their magic number to win the division shrink from 23 to 12 in just six games.
Syndergaard (ND) was making his first start since August 30th, when the Mets skipped him to preserve his innings limit. It was also his innings limit that almost cost the Mets a ballgame.
After allowing the Braves to take a 1-0 lead in the first, Syndergaard retired 19 of the next 20 batters he faced and that guy (Jayce Peterson), got nailed by left fielder Michael Confotro trying to stretch out a double. Syndergaard allowed only 2 hits in his seven innings, striking out 8. Syndergaard leads NL rookies with 137 K’s.
The Mets had build a 4-1 lead by the eighth inning, highlighted by another Yoenis Cespedes HR (16), his 8th in the last 11 games. Syndergaard had only thrown 94 pitches (after 13 days rest), but he didn’t come out for the eighth inning. Terry Collins later said that it was an “innings issue”.
It still looked like Syndergaard (1-5 on the road) was in line for the win, but after a week of heroics, Tyler Clippard made a mistake that saddled Syndergaard with a no-decision, giving up a game-tying, pinch hit, 3-run home run to Adonis Garcia. But in return, Clippard wound up getting the win. Gotta love those Baseball Gods…
In the ninth, Kelly Johnson drove in Travis d’Arnaud, who led off with a double, and the Mets had the lead again, 5-4. After Lucas Duda drew a walk, and Juan Lagares sacrifice and another walk to Curtis Granderson, Cespedes hit a high chopper that shortstop Andrelton Simmons decided to play to home, but Johnson score easily to give the Mets an insurance run, 6-4.
Needing the final three outs, Jeurys Familia wasted no time with a 1-2-3 innings for his 40th save of the season.
Jonathan Niese (8-10) gets his chance tomorrow to snap out of his “5-run inning” funk against Ryan Weber (0-1), who is trying to avoid a Mets sweep. Niese has given up a 5-run inning in each of his last three games.
POSITIVES: Cespedes HR was his 16th as a Met and his 33rd of the year … Travis d’Arnaud drove in his 38th run of the year. He’s only played 51 games … David Wright tied the game 1-1 with an RBI single … d’Arnaud had three hits … Conforto guns down another at second base … Murphy had two more hits, both doubles …
NEGATIVES: I really don’t like this innings limit thing …Clippard got the win, but had an awful line and also got a blown save: 1 IN, 3R, 3ER, 2H, W, K …