NEW YORK -- Noah Syndergaard demonstrated no ill effects from the blister that cut short his Opening Day start, delivering seven strong innings Sunday against the Marlins at Citi Field. And Michael Conforto showed no rust from a week spent on the bench, homering in the 5-2 victory to help the Mets avoid their first home sweep by the Marlins in nine years.
Striking out nine Marlins on the night, Syndergaard cracked for his only two runs -- one of them earned -- following a Yoenis Cespedes fielding error in the second inning. Otherwise, he was nearly untouchable, allowing five hits with no walks.
"I feel good with all my pitches right now," Syndergaard said. "Slider, changeup, curveball, it doesn't matter the count. I feel like I can throw them in any scenario."
Thanks to the Mets' three-run, first-inning rally against Marlins starter Edinson Volquez, Syndergaard pitched most of the night with a lead. Conforto drew a bases-loaded walk to cap that rally, before homering in the sixth. Jay Bruce also homered off Volquez, and Neil Walker rapped out a run-scoring single for his first RBI of the season.
The Marlins wrapped up their six-game road trip, which started in Washington, at 3-3, taking two-of-three in New York.
"Once you've won two, you're not happy losing one," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "You just want to get out of the blocks, first 10 games or two weeks and not be 1-12 or something like that. If you can be out and playing good baseball, hopefully we find rhythm and start winning two out of three all the time." More >>
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Conforto goes deep: The Mets were looking to put things away in the middle innings when Conforto came to bat with out out and the bases empty in the sixth. He blasted the first pitch he saw a Statcast-projected 430 feet to right-center, extending New York's lead to 5-1. In doing so, Conforto made an appeal for more playing time in the Mets' crowded outfield.
"Competition's always a good thing," Conforto said. "The goal here is to win games. And whatever I can do to help the team win, that's what I want to do." More >>
Take a seat: At no point was Syndergaard more dominant than the second inning, when he struck out Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Bour and Marcell Ozuna on 13 pitches. Relying heavily on sliders and changeups down in the zone, Syndergaard fanned five of the first six batters he faced, reaching as high as 101 mph with his two-seam fastball in the first inning.
"He threw me one [fastball] my first time, I was like, 'Eeeh, coming in hot,' " Volquez said. "He's a good pitcher. You've got to give him credit." More >>
"I don't mind it there. This guy is really a guy we should run on, but I don't mind trying to get a bag there." -- Mattingly on Dee Gordon getting thrown out trying to steal third in a 3-2 game in the third inning. The Marlins felt they could run on Syndergaard
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Stanton finished 0-for-3 against Syndergaard, dropping him to 0-for-11 in his career against the Mets right-hander. It's his highest number of hitless at-bats against anyone in baseball. Stanton struck out to end the game against Addison Reed.
ROJAS SHAKEN UP, SAYS HE'S FINE
The Marlins received a scare in the eighth inning after shortstop Miguel Rojas jarred his left shoulder while making a diving stop on Conforto's grounder up the middle. Because of the shift with Conforto at the plate, third baseman Derek Dietrich covered second, and received the flip from Rojas for the third out.
But on the play, Rojas got up cautiously and favored his arm walking off the field. Since 2015, Rojas has played with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. This discomfort is to his left shoulder. Miami already is shorthanded in the infield with regular shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria going on the 10-day disabled list on Sunday with a left oblique strain.
"Nothing wrong with my shoulder," Rojas said. "Everything is OK. It's one of those plays when you land on it, you feel it for a little bit. I made sure not to do anything crazy after the play, like get up so quick."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
A would-be inning ending groundout was overturned to an infield single for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto in the third inning. With two outs, Realmuto tapped a slow roller to second, and Walker made the toss to Lucas Duda. The initial call was out, but after a 40-second review, the call was overturned, and Realmuto had an infield single.
Marlins: The Marlins are off on Monday before their home opener on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. against the Braves at Marlins Park. Dan Straily (0-1, 13.50) will make his first home start as a Marlin. The right-hander was acquired in January from the Reds. Bartolo Colon will go for Atlanta.
Mets: A late-night bus ride down the New Jersey Turnpike will have the Mets in Philadelphia well in advance of their 7:05 p.m. ET game Monday at Citizens Bank Park. Jacob deGrom, who fired six shutout innings Wednesday against the Braves, will start opposite right-hander Jerad Eickhoff.
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