Mets squeak by Dodgers in taut pitchers' duel
LOS ANGELES -- The Mets still aren't scoring particularly often, but on Friday night, at least, they managed to score enough. Kevin Plawecki hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, lifting the Mets to a 2-1 victory over the Dodgers on a night that saw Noah Syndergaard hold one of the National League's best offenses to two hits in six innings.
The Mets never led until the ninth, when they parlayed a bloop double, an infield single and Plawecki's sacrifice fly into their second run. They still scored two or fewer runs for the 12th time in 14 games, but won for the fifth time during that stretch.
"We haven't had any in a long time, so to catch a couple breaks is huge for us," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "But you've got to really tip your hat to Noah today. Going head to head with the best pitcher in his game and holding his own was pretty impressive."
Syndergaard delivered a quality start at Dodger Stadium, holding Los Angeles to two hits -- one of them an Adrian Gonzalez solo homer -- and two walks over six innings. But the rookie received a no-decision thanks in large part to the efforts of Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, who recovered from a shaky first few innings to retire 10 of the final 11 batters he faced. Kershaw lasted seven innings, striking out seven and allowing one run.
"I would've liked to have been sharp early," Kershaw said. "I'll take it, but there are things I can work on."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rally in the ninth: The Mets finally finally found some offense in the ninth inning thanks to some well-timed luck. Lucas Duda led things off with a bloop double, moving to third base on an infield hit by Wilmer Flores that deflected off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen's glove. The next batter, Plawecki, lifted a sacrifice fly to center to give the Mets their first lead of the night.
"I did my job today. I can't beat myself up on a bloop single to left and a bloop single in the infield and a sac fly," Jansen said. "If you see the pitches I made, you can't beat yourself up. I did everything I can." More >
Thor shines: Syndergaard singlehandedly sparked a Dodger rally in the sixth inning, when he committed a fielding error and walked a batter to put two men on base with one out. But he responded with some clutch pitching against the heart of Los Angeles' lineup, retiring Gonzalez on a flyout before using four curveballs in a six-pitch sequence to whiff Yasiel Puig. More >
"I shied away from the changeup a little bit, but I didn't need it tonight because I had a plus breaking pitch," Syndergaard said. "It was a key to my success."
Duda's defense saves a run: After a Justin Turner leadoff double to start the fourth, Duda came up with back-to-back defensive gems at first base to keep the Dodgers from taking the lead. He dove to stop a Gonzalez grounder and flipped to Syndergaard for the out, then made another diving stop on the next play and beat Puig to first base. Andre Ethier flied out to left to strand Turner.
Rare theft: The Dodgers snapped a franchise-record drought Friday night when Howie Kendrick stole second base in the sixth inning. Entering Friday's game, the Dodgers had gone 23 straight games without a stolen base, with six unsuccessful attempts in that span. The Dodgers are last in the Majors with 15 stolen bases. More >
Scratching across a run: Unable to cash in earlier opportunities, the Mets received a golden one when John Mayberry Jr. doubled and moved to third base on a wild pitch with no outs in the fourth. Two batters later, Flores pushed a ground ball to the right side, where no one could stop it from bleeding into right field to drive home the Mets' first run.
"This loss don't mean anything. We have a really good team, we can beat any of these guys." -- Jansen
"I'll take anything at this point." -- Duda, whose bloop double in the ninth snapped an 0-for-13 stretch at the plate
Mets: Matt Harvey will make one last push for All-Star Game consideration when he faces the Dodgers in a 4:15 p.m. ET game Saturday. Currently on the fringes of All-Star consideration, Harvey has posted a 0.46 ERA over his last three starts to lower his overall mark to 2.99.
Dodgers: The Dodgers turn to Zack Greinke for the middle game of the series. Greinke leads the Majors with a 1.58 ERA and in his last start, he earned his first win since May 5.
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