Mets jump out early, hold on for 2-0 NLCS lead
NEW YORK -- On the heels of a Game 1 victory over the Cubs on Saturday, the Mets opened Game 2 of the National League Championship Series behind Noah Syndergaard and in front of a packed Citi Field on another frigid night in Flushing, riding a three-run first to a 4-1 win.
David Wright awoke from his slump and Daniel Murphy continued his surge to run the Mets out to the first-inning lead against Cubs' ace Jake Arrieta.
Wright, hitless since Game 1 of the NL Division Series and just 1-for-19 this postseason, followed a Curtis Granderson leadoff single with an RBI double off the center-field wall. Granderson, playing in the postseason for the first time since 2012, has reached safely in all seven Mets playoff games.
Murphy then deposited a 1-2 curveball into the right-field seats to boost the lead to three. It was his fifth home run of the postseason (tying Mike Piazza for the most in franchise postseason history) and making him New York's first player to homer in four consecutive playoff games. He's one of just eight Major League players ever to do so, the last being Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria in 2008.
Consider who Murphy has hit his dingers against, too -- Clayton Kershaw (twice), Zack Greinke, Jon Lester, and now, Arrieta.
The quick offensive strike was a rare sight against Arrieta, who entered the postseason having allowed just four earned runs in his final 12 starts (88 1/3 innings) of the regular season. He continued that roll with a shutout against the Pirates in the NL Wild Card Game before the Cardinals knocked him around for four runs in an NL Division Series game. He hadn't allowed three first-inning runs in a start since July 30, 2010.
Granderson's golden grab
After sparking the team's first-inning rally, Granderson helped preserve the three-run lead for Syndergaard by robbing Chris Coghlan of a home run in the second inning. Granderson's perfectly timed leap at the right-field wall helped Syndergaard through a 1-2-3 frame.
The top part of the Mets' lineup struck again in the third, as the Mets extended their lead against Arrieta to 4-0.
Granderson, who started the Mets' three-run first inning with a leadoff single, opened the third with a walk and promptly swiped two bases to position himself to score on a Yoenis Cespedes infield single to short. Cespedes hit with runners on the corners after the Cubs opted to intentionally walk three-hole hitter Murphy.
Syndergaard's strong start
Syndergaard lost his shutout bid in the sixth, but he exited to a standing ovation after giving up just one run over a 5 2/3-innings start. Pitching just three days after making a relief appearance against the Dodgers, Syndergaard struck out nine and didn't allow more than one baserunner in any inning until the sixth.
Dexter Fowler singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch with one out in the sixth. A double by Kris Bryant plated him and ended Syndergaard's night at 101 pitches. Jon Niese entered in relief and struck out Anthony Rizzo to end the frame.