LOS ANGELES -- Noah Syndergaard stands seven inches taller than Bartolo Colon and 45 pounds slimmer, if the Mets' official register is to be believed. He did not earn his nickname, Thor, by mere chance. And so the notion of Syndergaard thwacking balls over fences does not seem as far-fetched
LOS ANGELES -- Noah Syndergaard stands seven inches taller than Bartolo Colon and 45 pounds slimmer, if the Mets' official register is to be believed. He did not earn his nickname, Thor, by mere chance. And so the notion of Syndergaard thwacking balls over fences does not seem as far-fetched as that of Colon doing anything close to what he accomplished with his first career home run Saturday in San Diego.
But what Syndergaard lacked in comic relief Wednesday, he made up for in sheer, unembellished strength. In his latest bid to become New York's most dynamic athlete, Syndergaard crushed two home runs a combined 798 feet and pitched eight innings, all but single-handedly dragging the Mets to a 4-3 win over the Dodgers. And he did it despite recently having doctors examine his right elbow for injury.
"What's next?" Mets second baseman Neil Walker said. "He goes out there, he's throwing 100 [mph] and he's hitting home runs at night to the opposite field at Dodger Stadium. Those are legendary type things. It was a really good night for the kid."
Syndergaard's latest legend unfolded like this: Leading off the third inning against Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda, he launched his first home run of the season over the right-center-field fence to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Three innings later, Syndergaard initially squared to bunt against Maeda with runners on first and second base and no outs. But after working the count to 2-2, Syndergaard swung away, blasting a Maeda slider to the left of straightaway center.
"He was in disbelief," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Maeda. "He was stunned."
Afterward, Syndergaard called it "a dream" and "an awesome experience," racking his brain to recall if he had ever even hit two home runs in a Little League game.
"When you're that big and strong, obviously if you put the barrel on the ball, you can hit a homer," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "It was a good night for him. Great night. He's determined to be great."
Even for the great ones, so infrequently has something like this happened. When Syndergaard's second ball landed over the fence, he became the first big league pitcher to hit two home runs in a game since Arizona's Micah Owings in 2007, and just the second Met ever to do it. Walt Terrell also hit two homers against the Cubs in 1983.
No pitcher had accomplished that feat against the Dodgers in 58 years, and only seven Mets hurlers -- Dwight Gooden twice, Steven Matz once and four others -- had ever racked up four RBIs in a game.
But in more recent history, the Mets have become accustomed to oddities like this one. In addition to Colon's homer and Syndergaard's banner day, Matz and Matt Harvey each recorded doubles in recent days. Over the Mets' last full five-game turn of the rotation, their pitchers hit .400 with three home runs, two doubles, four runs scored, seven RBIs and a 1.133 slugging percentage.
"It's not real," Syndergaard said.
About the only sobering moment for the Mets was Collins' revelation after the game that Syndergaard had recently undergone an elbow examination. That is why he did not allow Syndergaard to start the ninth, despite completing eight innings in 95 pitches. When asked about it afterward, Syndergaard called the exam "just a precaution," refusing to go into details.
So that bears watching over the next few weeks. Then again, so does everything Syndergaard does these days.
"The guy's an animal, on and off the field," Walker said. "You never know when he takes the mound what you're going to get. He's a big, strong kid. He's Thor."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.