Thursday, August 29, 2019

Cubs Trounce Thor, Hold On To Beat Mets

Noah Syndergaard pitching to Kris Bryant in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Cubs came out swinging against Mets starter Noah Syndergaard, as they knocked him out after he allowed 10 runs in three innings before they held on to beat the Mets, 10-7, on Wednesday night at Citi Field.

This is the Mets' fifth straight loss and leaves them with a record of 67-65, now four games behind the Cubs (71-61) for the second Wild Card spot.

The trouble began early for Syndergaard when, after he struck out Jason Heyward, he plunked Nicholas Castellanos with a pitch up and in.

Kris Bryant followed with a single to give Chicago two on and one out, and then Javier Baez hit what looked to be a double play ball, and that's when it really started to unravel.

Baez hit it to Mets shortstop Amed Rosario, who was thrown off by Bryant approaching second and he underhanded a throw that had nothing on it and dribbled into right field, so Baez was on at first, Bryant at second, and Castellanos came around to score.

Kyle Schwarber singled Bryant in, and then Addison Russell followed with a two-run single to make it 4-0 Chicago.

The big blow came next when Ian Happ hit a two-run shot to right field to give the Cubs a 6-0 lead.

Victor Caratini followed with a single, and after pitcher Kyle Hendricks bunted him over, Heyward walked before Castellanos struck out to end the long inning.

The Mets got a run back in the bottom of the first, but Chicago's hit parade kept rolling in the second when Bryant doubled and Schwarber followed with a two-run homer to deep left to make it 8-1 Cubs.

Castellanos made it an even 10 against Syndergaard when he hit a two-run bomb to right in the top of the third.

Photo by Jason Schott.

Syndergaard's final line, a shocker, read: 3 innings, 9 hits, 10 runs, 9 earned runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts.

"Obviously, a few plays weren't made, that's the obvious thing," Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said of what went wrong with his starter in this one. "He battled, left some pitches in the middle and they made him pay. They didn't miss the ones that were big mistakes. Some of the credit has to go to their offense; you know, it's still hard to hit even when Noah Syndergaard makes mistakes. But he just couldn't get in rhythm, you know, I think that he had an off night, and you're going to have those. He's been pitching so well, and we know that our rotation is one of our strengths, just an off night for one of our starters."

On if Syndergaard was thrown off by a play like Rosario flubbing a double-play ball, Callaway said, "I don't think so. It normally doesn't, so it would be a long stretch to say, oh well, he just let those affect him - I don't know if that was the case. Just couldn't get in the rhythm of the game, couldn't get where he wanted to get, got down early 6-0, then they put up two more the next inning, and two more the inning after that, and his night was done, so I don't think it would affect him. He wanted to keep on pitching, you know, and we just couldn't do it at that point, but just a rough night for him...
"It gets to a point where, you know, even though the player wants to keep on going - it's ten runs. You can't continue to put ourselves in a deeper hole, first off, and just to make a pitcher sit out there and wear it is tough. Ten runs is a lot; it wasn't his night."

Paul Sewald came on,and he got out of a jam in the fourth by striking out Caratini, and then pitched a scoreless top of the fifth before the Mets rallied in the bottom half of the frame.

With one out, Todd Frazier, who was pinch-hitting for Sewald, hit one off the top of the fence in left field, followed by a two-run homer for Jeff McNeil. That was followed by a solo shot for J.D. Davis to make it 10-4 Chicago.

Michael Conforto continued it with a single, and then after a pop out from Pete Alonso, Wilson Ramos got hit by a pitch before Joe Panik blooped one down the left field line to score Conforto and make it 0-5 Chicago and that was all for their starter, Kyle Hendricks.

David Phelps came on for the Cubs, and Rosario greeted him by dropping an RBI single into center field to score Ramos and make it 10-6. Juan Lagares, who made the first out of the inning, ended it with a fly out to right field.

The Mets bullpen kept up the run started by Sewald's two scoreless innings.

Brad Brach came on for the Mets in the sixth, and he pitched two innings, in which he allowed just a bunt-hit single to Tony Kemp in the seventh, and he was caught stealing later in the inning.

Edwin Diaz struck out the side (Heyward, Castellanos, Bryant) in the eighth and Luis Avilan retired the side (Biaz, Schwarber, Russell) in the ninth.

"The bullpen was fantastic," Callaway said. "We got two innings out of Sewald, two innings out of Brach, Diaz was the best I've ever seen him. The slider was real - he started using Jacob deGrom's grip and it looked like he was lights out the last couple outings - and then Avilan comes on and gets some big hitters out, so they did a great job. Six innings, no runs, they gave us a chance to come back."

The Mets got a run in the bottom of the eighth to make it a three-run game, 10-7, when Frazier reached on a throwing error by Javier Baez, and scored on a Conforto groundout.

Craig Kimbrel came on for Chicago in the ninth, and he allowed a single to Ramos to start it off before a walk to Rajai Davis gave the Mets two on and none out.

Amed Rosario then hit a grounder to second base for a force out before Lagares struck out - the bitter end of an 0-for-5 night for him - and then Frazier flew out to right field to cap a wild game.

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