PHILADELPHIA — The current ace of the Mets is a 6-6, 240-pound slab of muscle with blond locks that fall to his shoulders. At first glance, he appears to have sprung from the imagination of an overzealous video game programmer, one who has severely overestimated the capabilities of the human body. Except that when it comes to Noah Syndergaard, all of it is real.
“When you used to play video games as a kid, if you build the player you want to build and you put all the abilities up to max 10 . . . he’s that player,” David Wright said Monday night after hitting two home runs in the Mets’ 5-2 win over the Phillies.
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Syndergaard exerted his will with sheer physical force, holding the Phillies to one run in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked two.
Syndergaard’s first six fastballs lit up the radar gun at 100, 100, 101, 101, 101 and 101 mph. He threw at least three sliders that registered at 94 mph. His curveball — once dubbed by Terry Collins as the “hook from hell” — was responsible for three of his punch outs.
“Everything was clicking mechanically,” Syndergaard said.
Only caution spared the Phillies from absorbing Syndergaard’s full wrath. He was pulled after 94 pitches, a concession to the marathon season that lies ahead for the 23-year-old phenom. He improved to 2-0 even though his ERA actually rose to 0.90.
“He’s made such huge strides with command, with his thought process, his learning how to pitch,” Collins said. “He’s gotten so good so fast, it’s remarkable.”
For all of the fretting about their sluggish start to the season, the Mets (6-6) climbed back to the .500 mark by winning for the fourth time in their last five games.
While Syndergaard muzzled the Phillies, the Mets’ offense continued its emergence from hibernation with four home runs. Two came off the bat of Wright, whose 22 homers at Citizens Bank Park are the most by a visiting player.
“Star players should never surprise you with what they can do,” Collins said. “They do things that capture your attention, and he’s dangerous here.”
When Phillies righthander Jerad Eickhoff left a fastball over the heart of the plate in the first inning, Wright unleashed his signature power swing the other way. The ball landed about 10 rows deep in right-center, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead.
Wright provided the capper in the ninth when he lined Elvis Araujo’s slider over the rightfield fence for a 5-1 lead. He began the day homerless and ended it with his 21st career multi-homer game, his first since June 20, 2013.
Lucas Duda and Neil Walker hit back-to-back homers off David Hernandez in the eighth. The solo shots provided some added cushion to what had been a tight pitchers’ duel.
After Wright’s first homer, the Phillies tied it in the third when Freddy Galvis lined a one-out double the other way and scored on Odubel Herrera’s soft single to left.
“When he gives up a run, it’s almost like you look at him and say, ‘What’s wrong with you tonight?’ ” Wright said of Syndergaard. “Very rarely do guys put good swings on him.”
The Mets reclaimed a 2-1 lead in the sixth. Yoenis Cespedes continued his hot streak, ripping a two-out triple to end a stretch of 14 straight plate appearances without a hit. He scored on Duda’s opposite-field double.
And Duda wasn’t done. In the eighth inning, his first home run of the season came to rest in the upper deck, but not before sailing over a picture of his own face displayed on the video board.
Meanwhile, Syndergaard choked the life out of the Phillies. His 29 strikeouts through his first three starts fell one shy of tying Pedro Martinez’s club record set in 2005.
The Phillies managed only five hits off Syndergaard. His fastball was so overpowering that none of them was hit to the pull side of the field.
Said Syndergaard: “It gives you the most amount of confidence in the world right there.”