Thor's string of at least 7 innings ends at 6
Righty derailed by RBI doubles in key 5th against Royals
KANSAS CITY -- Noah Syndergaard's streak of six consecutive starts with at least seven innings of work came to an end on Friday night and it was the bottom of the Royals’ lineup that had the biggest impact in keeping the Mets right-hander from again going deep into a game.
Syndergaard appeared to be cruising with one out in the fifth. But Ryan O’Hearn, Meibrys Viloria and Nicky Lopez burned Syndergaard with well-struck hits as the Royals scored twice en route to a 4-1 victory at Kauffman Stadium.
On a humid summer night, Syndergaard said he struggled to maintain a proper grip on the baseball as he went along.
“I battled the elements,” Syndergaard said. “I don’t know what it is about humidity, but was sweating like a greased pig out there. I’m pretty good at sweating.”
Syndergaard did all he could to not let the sweating affect his grip. But a jersey change and consistent use of a towel to wipe off the sweat didn’t keep the humidity from becoming problematic.
Adversity hit Syndergaard suddenly in the fifth as O’Hearn ripped a sharp single and Viloria followed with a run-scoring double. Viloria went to third on an errant throw and he scored the go-ahead run when Lopez lined a double to left.
Just like that, the Mets were in a 2-1 hole and couldn’t climb out of it against starter Mike Montgomery and the Royals’ bullpen. One night after they had scored 10 runs against the Braves, the Mets were held to an unearned run in the third.
“[The Royals] threw the ball well,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “Their starter was outstanding. It’s over. We have to come out [Saturday] and put ourselves in a position where we can win the series. Tough loss, but we’ll put it behind us.”
Syndergaard was lifted after throwing 90 pitches in six innings. Other than the fateful fifth, he was able to keep Kansas City off the scoreboard despite the grip issues. Brad Brach came on in the eighth and loaded the bases with none out before Callaway decided to turn to struggling reliever Edwin Diaz.
After allowing a walk and a hit that produced two insurance runs, Diaz limited the damage by getting a strikeout and double-play grounder.
“He did a very good job of getting out of that with two,” Callaway said. “Bases loaded and nobody out, that’s a tough situation.”
The Mets have lost four of five after a 21-6 spurt vaulted them into postseason contention. They’re now two games back of the Cubs and Phillies and one behind the Brewers in the race for the second National League Wild Card spot.
“Just one of those days where we had a couple of opportunities and didn’t come through,” designated hitter Todd Frazier said. “Noah pitched a heck of a game, only giving up two runs. That was really it.”
Davis tweaks calf
Left fielder J.D. Davis tweaked his right calf while legging out an infield single in the eighth inning. He was lifted for pinch-runner Aaron Altherr, but Davis said he doesn’t expect to miss any time.
“Just a little tightness in the upper calf that I’ve had the last couple of days,” Davis said. “I’ll be fine. It’s more preventative than anything.”