NEW YORK -- No matter what their expectations for any given summer, the Mets nearly always begin their season idyllically. Coming into Monday, their .636 Opening Day winning percentage ranked tops in Major League history by no small margin.
A club that boasts World Series aspirations was not about to sully that trend. Parlaying an overturned replay review into a six-run seventh inning, the Mets shook off Noah Syndergaard's early departure en route to a 6-0 win over the Braves at Citi Field.
"If you want to be around some excitement, play in New York City," manager Terry Collins said. "Play at Citi Field when we have a crowd like this. You cannot do anything but get excited."
Pitching in front of the second-largest crowd in Citi Field history, 44,384 strong, Syndergaard and Julio Teheran traded zeros for the game's first six innings, until the Mets caught their break when Asdrubal Cabrera singled home Wilmer Flores in the seventh. Though home-plate umpire Jeff Kellogg initially ruled Flores out, replays showed that Braves catcher Tyler Flowers shifted his body enough to give Flores a lane to the plate. He took it, tapping his toe on the rubber surface before Flowers could tag him.
"I knew I was safe," Flores said.
The overturned call catapulted the Mets, who followed with a walk, a sacrifice fly, two more free passes and a Lucas Duda three-run double. By the time the smoke cleared, the Mets had sent 11 batters to the plate and the Braves had used four pitchers to record three outs.
Both Syndergaard, who left with a blister on his right middle finger, and Teheran were characteristically brilliant, striking out a combined 13. The Braves' best chances to score came in the fourth and sixth innings, when they put a runner on third base with one out. But in each instance, Syndergaard thwarted the threat.
"[Syndergaard] threw a lot more two-seamers in to righties and usually stayed away with four-seamers," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "He just switched up his game plan today. We'll have to switch up ours the next time we see him."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Flores betters Flowers: Though Ender Inciarte's throw -- a 93.7-mph laser beam, according to Statcast™ -- gave Flowers a chance, the Braves' catcher was positioned behind home plate. It took a bit of courage from Flores, who had not played since breaking the hamate bone in his right wrist during a collision with Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski last September. But the result was a 1-0 lead for the Mets, who quickly went on to add five more. More >
"That's a big momentum shift there and probably turns the game around," said Braves manager Brian Snitker, who lifted Teheran after 96 pitches and then saw Ian Krol, Chaz Roe and Eric O'Flaherty combine to issue five walks and surrender three hits in the seventh inning.
Blistering repertoire: Syndergaard mixed up his repertoire in his 2017 debut, using a two-seam fastball instead of a four-seamer as his primary pitch. Yet it was Syndergaard's secondary offerings that proved most bedeviling to the Braves, particularly in the fourth inning, when he racked up three strikeouts on a changeup and two sliders -- all of them above 90 mph. Syndergaard departed after just 86 pitches due to a blister on top of his right middle finger.
"I haven't been in a real competition-based setting in a while," said Syndergaard, who plans to make his next start in spite of the blister. "It was awesome out there feeling the electricity from the fans." More >
"It was a testament to our lineup, the length and depth of it." -- Duda, on the Mets' seventh-inning rally
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Teheran has allowed three earned runs in the 43 innings totaled within his past six starts against the Mets, dating back to June 21, 2015. That equates to a 0.63 ERA.
The Mets improved to 36-20 all time on Opening Day, good for a .643 winning percentage. The only other team above .600 is the Mariners, who entered Monday's play 24-16 (.600).
Braves:Bartolo Colon will face his former teammates when this three-game series resumes on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. The 43-year-old Colon will be entering his 20th Major League season. He spent each of the past three seasons with New York.
Mets: Following an off-day, the Mets will return to Citi Field on Wednesday for a rematch with the Braves. Jacob deGrom will make his season debut opposite Colon, joking recently that he's terrified of giving up a hit to his old teammate.
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