After Jacob deGrom’s gem in Game 1, Noah Syndergaard had a tough act to follow in Game 2 of the NLDS Saturday night in sunny Los Angeles. He was very good until faltering in a wild seventh inning, which included a controversial call that turned the game around, and now the series is tied at one game apiece.
The Mets used the long ball to jump out to an early lead against Zack Greinke. Yoenis Cespedes homered to lead off the second. And later in the inning, Michael Conforto hit one off of the right field foul pole and the Mets had a 2-0 lead.
Back-to-back doubles by old pal Justin Turner and Andre Ethier to lead off the fourth cut the Mets lead to 2-1. Ethier killed the Dodgers rally when made the first out trying to go to third on a grounder back to Syndergaard.
Terry Collins sent Syndergaard out for the seventh inning after throwing 101 pitches through six. It didn’t work out. Syndergaard got the first out, but then he walked Enrique Hernandez. With old pest Chase Utley up, Hernandez stole second. Utley then singled over the head of Daniel Murphy to put runners on first and third. That was all for Syndergaard. Bartolo Colon came on. Howie Kendrick hit a liner up the middle. Murphy fielded it and flipped it to Ruben Tejada for the force at second. With his back to the base and trying to make an acrobatic throw to first, Utley took him out on a late and arguably dirty slide to break up the double play, scoring Hernandez to tie the game at two. Tejada fractured his right fibula on the play and had to be taken off the field on a cart. It turned out Tejada never touched the bag, so Don Mattingly challenged and Utley was ruled safe. However, replays showed Utley never touched the base, either. Apparently Collins couldn’t appeal or challenge it, and Utley was safe at second. Addison Reed came on and got the second out (which would have ended the inning if Utley was ruled out). So then Adrian Gonzalez doubled to right, scoring two runs to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Turner doubled to plate Gonzalez to make it 5-2. Then it was Jonathon Niese’s turn. He got the final out to end the bad inning for the Mets.
So Syndergaard went 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out nine, throwing 115 pitches, one shy of his career high.
Greinke lasted seven innings, and then it was into the Dodgers bullpen. Chris Hatcher retired the Mets in order in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen finished out the game.
Mets lose 5-2. The series is tied at one as they head to what should be an electric Citi Field filled with fans out for Chase Utley’s blood.