As good as Noah Syndergaard was in his last start, that’s how bad he was on Wednesday night in the Mets’ 10-7 loss to the Cubs at Citi Field.
Syndergaard, who threw six shutout innings against the Indians before a rain delay ended his last outing, had zilch on Wednesday and left after three innings trailing 10-1. Syndergaard was also the victim of two bad defensive plays.
The numbers are ugly. Syndergaard, who turns 27 on Thursday, was charged with 10 runs (nine earned). He allowed nine hits – three of them home runs -- walked one, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.
Syndergaard threw 39 pitches in the Cubs’ six-run first inning and 64 overall.
“Just an off night for him,” manager Mickey Callaway said, adding he pulled Syndergaard after three because “10 runs is a lot.”
It was the worst start of Syndergaard’s career and the most runs he has allowed since he gave up seven in four innings to the Padres in his fifth big-league start on June 2, 2015. No Mets starter has been charged with 10 runs since Johan Santana vs. the Phillies on May 2, 2010.
The Mets, who have lost five in a row, trailed 10-1 when Paul Sewald replaced Syndergaard to start the fourth. The Mets’ bullpen threw six shutout innings and the offense tried gamely to rally.
“It kind of makes me feel even worse that I wasn’t able to go out there and do my job,” Syndergaard said. “It’s my job to go out there and put up zeroes and I did the opposite of that.”
The Mets sent 10 men to the plate and scored five runs in the fifth inning. Jeff McNeil (two-run shot) and J.D. Davis hit back-to-back homers off Kyle Hendricks and the Mets also got run-scoring singles from Joe Panik and Amed Rosario to close the gap to 10-6.
The Mets had their chances after that. They had two men on in the sixth and seventh and did not score. They had runners on second and third to open the eighth, but could only get to 10-7 on Michael Conforto’s one-out RBI groundout.
“We’re never going to give up,” Callaway said. “You saw that tonight.”
Wilson Ramos, who earlier extended his hitting streak to 21 games, led off the ninth with a single against Craig Kimbrel. Pinch hitter Rajai Davis walked to bring the tying run to the plate, but Rosario grounded out, Juan Lagares struck out and Todd Frazier flew out to right.
The Mets left 11 men on base.
“You can take some positivity away from this,” J.D. Davis said. “Just being down 10-1 and fighting back to get it to 10-7. We had our chances and their pitchers made good pitches.”
The Mets fell four games behind the Cubs for the National League’s second wild card spot. They also trail the Phillies and Brewers, both of whom won on Wednesday.
In his previous five outings, Syndergaard had thrown 33 1/3 innings and allowed five earned runs. In the first inning on Wednesday, Syndergaard matched that total.
Rosario made a throwing error on a potential force at second to allow the first run to score. Kyle Schwarber doubled to right to make it 2-0 and Addison Russell followed with a bloop two-run single to right and the Cubs had a 4-0 lead.
But they weren’t done. Ian Happ hit an opposite-field, two-run homer to left to make it 6-0. The Cubs sent 11 men to the plate in the inning.
The Mets made it 6-1 in the first on Ramos’ run-scoring forceout.
The second inning started badly, too. Kris Bryant lofted a pop fly that landed between leftfielder Davis and shortstop Rosario. It was scored a double, but either man could have caught the ball. Davis said he never really saw it in the light rain.
Two batters later, Schwarber sent his 31st home run to the opposite field in left to make the score 8-1. Nicholas Castellanos hit with another opposite-field, two-run home run in the third to make it 10-1.
Noah Syndergaard’s pitching line:
EARNED RUNS 9
HOME RUNS 3