At the heart of baseball rests a comforting sense of order. It's what dictates that players either hit or they pitch. They're not supposed to do both, not with any semblance of competence, anyway.
It simply wouldn't be fair.
But in one charmed afternoon, with feats of strength that seemed rooted in fiction, Mets phenom Noah Syndergaard overwhelmed those conventions with pure power Wednesday.
In a reality-distorting display, wedged within a 7-0 drubbing of the Phillies, Syndergaard threw a 100-mph fastball before blasting a 430-foot home run.
"That was impressive," veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer said. "That's a long way to hit a ball. You don't see too many pitchers do that."
In just his fourth major-league start, the 22-year-old Syndergaard tossed 7 1/3 shutout innings against the Phillies, lowering his ERA to 2.55. Then he boosted his average to .444 (4-for-9) by going 3-for-3 with a pair of singles and his first big-league homer.
"What happened?" Syndergaard said, sharing the thought that hit him as he rounded the bases. "I kind of shocked myself."
The drive clanked off a stairwell in centerfield. Later, it wound up in his locker, where it will reside before it's given away as a fitting gift.
"Tomorrow's actually my dad's birthday," Syndergaard said after improving to 2-2. "I asked what he wanted. He said he wanted a 'W.' I think I gave him a little bit extra."
Syndergaard's homer was just part of the Mets' biggest power display since last August, They crushed four homers before a crowd of 24,406 at Citi Field.
Lucas Duda went deep twice in his second multihomer game of the week. Cuddyer blasted a two-run shot into the upper deck in leftfield for the second time in three games.
With the victory, the Mets improved to 27-21 and upped their mark to 20-6 at Citi Field, the best home start through 26 games in franchise history.
The Mets also continued their mastery over the lowly Phillies, whom they have beaten in 20 of their last 25 matchups. The three-game sweep came after dropping three straight against the Pirates over the weekend.
"You've got to win games you're supposed to win," manager Terry Collins said.
Syndergaard arrived with considerable hype, though through four games, he has not only lived up to all of it, he has actually gotten better.
It has been only about a week since he adopted a new grip on his two-seam fastball. But against the Phillies, he commanded it with ease, adding yet another weapon to go with his blazing four-seamer and biting curve.
In the best start of his young career, Syndergaard struck out six without issuing a walk.
"You saw bits and pieces of it throughout these four games," said Kevin Plawecki, Syndergaard's one-time batterymate in the minors. "But I think today was really a full package deal."
In the minors, Syndergaard hit .270 scattered over parts of six seasons, though his first professional homer didn't come until just before his promotion from Las Vegas last month.
That ball, which eventually became a gift to his mother, also traveled more than 400 feet to centerfield.
"He's 6-7, 245," Collins said. "I'm hoping he can hit them that far. You had guys on the bench, some of our hitters saying, 'I can't hit the ball that far.' He's a big, strong kid. There's no doubt about it."
Collins could have pulled Syndergaard after seven shutout innings. But he permitted him to begin the eighth, retrieving the righthander only after he recorded the first out.
This way, Syndergaard could bask in the standing ovation he received for pushing the boundaries of reality.
Said Collins: "He certainly deserved it."
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