If Noah Syndergaard is Thor, Citi Field is his hammer.
Away starts have been cruel to the Mets righthander, but when he enters the confines of his Flushing home, the fabric of the game itself seems to change, much as it did in Friday night's 2-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
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Syndergaard hit his spots, mixed up his pitches effectively and, most importantly, compensated for a team mired in the offensive doldrums -- going so far as to make the Mets' two hits stand up. To the fans who wear Thor masks and hold up action figures in his mythical likeness, he more than earns his nickname.
"I just had everything working for me," said Syndergaard, who started with a first-inning diet of fastballs but moved to his off-speed pitches when he saw the Reds' aggressiveness.
"I noticed that earlier in the game," he said. "I knew that my changeup and my curveball would be the reason I had success."
Syndergaard (3-4, 3.59) went eight innings, the longest start of his career, allowing one earned run, five hits and no walks and striking out five. He is 3-1 with a 1.89 ERA in five home starts.
And then there are days when he leaves home and his powers depart with him: Those times, he's 0-3 with a 6.52 ERA.
"It goes along with how we've been playing," Terry Collins said of the home success. "I think he's comfortable . . . He responds a lot. We have a tremendous following here and he responds to that excitement. I think it keeps the adrenaline going in him."
Naturally, the Mets' offense will have to catch up. Half of their two hits came when Curtis Granderson blasted a 1-and-1 fastball to right for a leadoff homer off Johnny Cueto, his 12th of the season and fourth in six games.
The Reds evened it in the second when Chris Dominguez's groundout drove in Jay Bruce.
Syndergaard faced the minimum in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Meanwhile, the Mets got just enough.
With two outs in the fifth, Dilson Herrera hit a ball to deep right-center that got past the diving Billy Hamilton for a triple. Cueto walked the next three batters, including Lucas Duda, who battled back from an 0-and-2 count to drive in Herrera.
"We're going to need more than that on a nightly basis," Collins said. "But tonight, with as well as that kid pitched, two sufficed, I guess."
Wright future uncertain. It was a little less than two weeks ago that Sandy Alderson said it would be realistic to expect David Wright back by the All- Star break. On Friday, Alderson said that although Wright, suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis, has made "progress," he has not resumed baseball activities. "And I can't tell you that on Monday, when I talk to him again, he will have transitioned to baseball activity," he added.
Perhaps Alderson's most damning appraisal? "David's situation is a little bit more ambiguous," he said. "Problematic."
Notes & quotes: Daniel Murphy went 4-for-5 with a double, two runs and two RBIs and played nine innings at third base for Class A St. Lucie in a rehab game . . . The Mets held a moment of silence for former owner Nelson Doubleday Jr. and former outfielder Darryl Hamilton . . . New Knicks Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant tossed out the ceremonial first pitches.