Noah Syndergaard bounced back on Sunday as his usual dominant self.
Syndergaard (9-3, 2.41 ERA), who is pitching with a bone spur in his right elbow, tossed seven innings of one-run ball in the Mets’ 14-3 victory over the Cubs.
He retired 11 straight after Javier Baez singled in the second inning. Then a seven-run second gave Syndergaard a healthy cushion, allowing him to settle into a groove as the Mets completed a four-game sweep.
“It makes my job easier out there,” he said of the run support. “The last thing you want to do when you go out there when you have a big lead like that is start walking guys.”
Syndergaard, who lasted only three innings in his previous start against the Nationals, hit a batter but didn’t issue a walk. He struck out eight.
His lone blemish occurred in the first inning when Anthony Rizzo singled to right with two outs to drive in Jason Heyward from third. After that, Syndergaard was in complete control.
“I just felt really calm out there,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to do too much. In my start against the Nationals, I was feeling really strong and really, really good, and I was just trying to throw the ball harder and harder as opposed to just going out there and pitching.”
Catcher Rene Rivera, who homered and drove in three runs, said the difference had to do with how calm Syndergaard was on the rubber.
“He was attacking the strike zone, using all his pitches — his curveball, slider, we threw a couple changeups out there,” he said. “The main thing is he was calm, he was hitting his spots and his velocity was there.”
Navigating the Cubs’ potent lineup can be a tall task for pitchers, especially with so many home run threats. But Syndergaard mixed his pitches well and worked deep into the ballgame.
With the Mets holding a 13-1 lead, Syndergaard gave way to pinch hitter Alejandro De Aza in the bottom of the seventh after throwing 85 pitches.
The sweep of the Cubs gives the Mets a much-needed confidence boost heading into seven games against the Marlins and Nationals leading to the All-Star break.
Syndergaard will get a shot at redemption against the Nationals, who roughed him up for five runs and seven hits in three innings on June 27. But if he pitches the way he did against the Cubs, the Mets should be in good shape.
Rough outings from Syndergaard are few and far between. The Mets hope it will be a while before they experience another one.