Noah Syndergaard was sensational again Tuesday night in a 12-strikeout performance against the Marlins at Citi Field. But the Mets still lost their fourth in a row, 2-1, to drop to 2-5.
While Syndergaard and Jose Fernandez didn’t disappoint in their starting pitching duel, it was an at-bat by Dee Gordon in the eighth inning that led to Miami’s go-ahead run and the Mets’ continued frustration.
Gordon dumped a single to left in front of Michael Conforto to cap an incredible 16-pitch at-bat against Jim Henderson leading off the eighth in a 1-1 game. Gordon, who would later score on a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Martin Prado, fouled off 11 consecutive 2-and-2 pitches.
“Difference in the whole game,” manager Terry Collins said. “You’ve got to give him credit. Tremendous at-bat.”
Gordon, last year’s NL batting champ, had struck out three straight times before he refused to go down against Henderson, who had not allowed a baserunner since spring training.
“I’m not going to say it was fun,” said Henderson (0-1). “But you start reaching down a bit more and talking to yourself. It was a good battle. I don’t think either of us gave in. Hat tip to him.”
The struggling Mets did a lot of hat-tipping after they were six-hit by Fernandez, who allowed one run in five innings, and three Miami relievers.
“Jose Fernandez is never the remedy for a struggling offense,” Wright said. “That’s for sure. We had a couple chances early to get to him. He made some good pitches to get out of it . . . Tip your cap to him and hopefully we’ll get ’em [Wednesday]. I think guys will heat up. [Wednesday] would be a good day for that, for sure.”
Syndergaard delivered the performance the Mets were craving. He struck out six of the first seven batters and allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings. Syndergaard walked one in a 99-pitch effort.
“I’ll put him up with anybody in baseball with just pure stuff and confidence and just sheer dominance,” Wright said. “He’s a guy that nothing surprises you.”
The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the first when Curtis Granderson snapped an 0-for-20 slump with a leadoff double. Wright walked and one out later, Lucas Duda smacked an RBI single to right-center. Duda, though, did not run hard out of the box and was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double after the ball skipped past Miami rightfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
The Mets left the bases loaded against the struggling Fernandez in the second when Wright flied out to right on a 3-and-2 pitch. And Yoenis Cespedes just missed a home run to left into a stiff wind when his drive was caught at the wall.
The Marlins tied the score at 1 in the fourth. Marcell Ozuna was called out on a grounder to second, but replay showed Duda’s foot came off the bag. The Marlins successfully challenged and Ozuna had a leadoff single.
Two outs later, slugger Justin Bour grounded a shift-beating single to the mostly unoccupied left side of the infield. Derek Dietrich laced an RBI single to right to tie the score.
Miami had a chance to take the lead, too, in Syndergaard’s final inning. Dietrich led off the seventh with a double and was still at second with two outs when pinch hitter Ichiro Suzuki grounded a single to the right of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.
Cabrera fielded the ball and threw to first, but Ichiro was called safe at first. Dietrich tried to score from second and was thrown out easily by Duda. Well, not easily if you flashed back to Duda’s unfortunate throw in the ninth inning of Game 5 of last year’s World Series. This time, Duda nailed it.
Small consolation, though.