The last time we saw Noah Syndergaard, he was throwing seven innings of shutout ball in the Mets Wild Card loss. The off-season did not affect him, apparently — he threw six shutout innings Opening Day, but had to leave with a blister on his middle finger. Unlike that final game of 2016, the Mets went into win the first game of 2017.
Syndergaard was dominant through five; a Freddie Freeman triple in the fourth was the only hard hit ball off of him. He was able to strand him there by striking out Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis.
With the blister apparently bothering him in the sixth, Syndergaard allowed singles to Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman to put runners on first and third with one out. But he was able to strike out Kemp again and get Markakis to fly out.
Syndergaard allowed five hits, with seven strikeouts and no walks. He threw only 86 pitches, so if it were not for the blister, he could have gone at least one more inning, if not more.
Meantime Julio Tehran was matching Syndergaard’s zeroes. He also lasted six innings, allowing no runs on four hits. He struck out six and also walked three.
With Tehran gone, the Mets offense got down to business, with a big assist from the incompetent Braves bullpen. Rene Rivera led off the seventh with a single off of Ian Krol. Pinch hitter Wilmer Flores grounded into a fielder’s choice and stole second on a missed hit-and-run. After Joses Reyes walked, Asdrubal Cabrera singled to center to score Flores (he was originally called out, but it was reversed after a replay challenge) to put the season’s first run on the board. Cabrera had three hits on the day. With runners on first and second and one out, Chaz Roe came on and walked Yoenis Cespedes to load the bases. Then came Eric O’Flaherty, who was so terrible for the Mets late in the 2015 season. Curtis Granderson lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Reyes to make it 2-0. Neil Walker walked to load the bases again, and then Jay Bruce walked to force in a run to make it 3-0. Lucas Duda put the game out of reach with a bases-clearing double to left-center to give the Mets a 6-0 lead. Travis d’Arnaud, who pinch ran for Rivera earlier in the inning, walked for the fifth free pass of the inning. And that was all for O’Flaherty. Jose Ramirez got Flores on a grounder to end the inning.
Hansel Robles and Fernando Salas each pitched perfect innings. Robert Gsellman, who will eventually join the rotation, came on for the ninth. He allowed a single and double to put runners on second and third with no outs. He got the second out with a dribbler up the first base line, but Matt Kemp strayed off second and was tagged out for the strange double play to end the game.
Mets win win the opener, 6-0.