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Thor bounces back, but 'pen can't close deal

Syndergaard overcomes illness to toss 6 scoreless before Braves tag relievers for 7
September 25, 2018

NEW YORK -- Noah Syndergaard yet again faced adversity on Tuesday night in his already anomalous season.After a finger strain and a case of hand, foot and mouth disease kept him out earlier in the season, the starter was dealt another unfortunate card in the Mets' 7-3 loss to the

NEW YORK -- Noah Syndergaard yet again faced adversity on Tuesday night in his already anomalous season.
After a finger strain and a case of hand, foot and mouth disease kept him out earlier in the season, the starter was dealt another unfortunate card in the Mets' 7-3 loss to the Braves on Tuesday at Citi Field. Before first pitch and a 32-minute rain delay, Syndergaard was sick. The Mets weren't sure what they would get -- if anything -- from the flamethrower, but he battled through six scoreless innings, holding Atlanta to three hits while striking out five.
"We didn't even know if he was going to be able to start the game, and then after the first we didn't know if we were going to be able to leave him out there," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "So he grinded through six innings and was done. He just didn't have anything left."
Callaway said the Mets sent Syndergaard home immediately after they pulled him from the game because he was "feeling clammy and was white as a ghost."

Atlanta is the one team in the National League (besides the Mets) against whom Syndergaard does not have a win. That tradition continued on Tuesday at Citi Field, even though the Mets had a 3-0 lead when Syndergaard left the game.
It was a return to form for the right-hander, who allowed two homers over just four innings in his last start in Philadelphia. It seemed as though he would earn his seventh consecutive home win, which would make him only the fourth Mets pitcher to accomplish the feat, but the bullpen faltered in the seventh and let Atlanta right back in.

Braves starter Touki Toussaint made it through two hitless innings before the Mets cracked him in the third inning. Michael Conforto nearly launched his career-best 28th home run, but instead settled for a double that hit off the wall in center, plating Jeff McNeil for Conforto's 81st RBI. Jay Bruce then knocked in Conforto with a single to extend the Mets' lead.
A sacrifice fly in the sixth inning from Tomas Nido plated Brandon Nimmo, giving the Mets what they thought would be an insurance run for Syndergaard, who was replaced in the bottom of the frame by pinch-hitter Dominic Smith.

It all went downhill from there. Three of the next four Mets pitchers out of the 'pen gave up at least one run. Robert Gsellman and Drew Smith combined for the seventh inning, giving up four runs on three hits. Jerry Blevins threw one-third of the eighth inning and gave up three runs, including a two-run homer to Ozzie Albies, extending the Braves' lead. Tyler Bashor came in and got the last two outs of the inning, but gave up a single and a hit batsman in the process.

Although the bullpen outing was not ideal, Callaway hopes it will be a learning experience, especially for his young relievers.
"I think it's possible at this point that a lot of guys hit walls," Callaway said. "Especially Minor League guys that haven't played this long. It's a long season, the Minor League season, and then you add the rest of the Major League season on top of it and it can be a challenge. I wouldn't be surprised if these guys aren't getting fatigued a little bit, but they have to get through this September and keep on pitching so they know what to expect next year."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Whether he played or not the start of the homestand meant one thing to this Mets team, the fans and the entire franchise: David Wright was officially reinstated from the 60-Day disabled list after not playing in a Major League game in 851 days.
The captain was able to put on his uniform as an active player and join his teammates in the dugout, hoping to be called on as a pinch-hitter at some point this week prior to his final start Saturday.
"When you get to this day, you're activated, you get a chance to play, all leading up to Saturday," Wright said. "So however long it took to get here, however many hours of the rehab, certainly makes it all worthwhile when I get a chance to button up that uniform tonight." More >

SOUND SMART
Conforto has 51 RBIs since the All-Star break. He has 28 just in September, which is the most in the Majors. The last Met with at least 28 in any month was Wright, who drove in 29 runs in June 2010.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Freddie Freeman -- who has been a thorn in the Mets' side for his whole career -- drilled a sinking line drive into right field in the bottom of the ninth. Nimmo made an impressive diving play to rob the Braves' slugger and prevented further damage from taking place.

HE SAID IT
"When I'm hurt, I never put my uniform on. I always wear a hoodie or something like that. So getting a chance to put my uniform on will mean a lot to me. Putting that thing on means the world to me, and it's something that you tend to take for granted, and when you don't put it on for a few years, it's going to mean a lot more to me this time." -- Wright, on being activated Tuesday

UP NEXT
Jacob deGrom will cap off his historic season against the Braves on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field in front of the fans who have supported him all season long in his push for the National League Cy Young Award. The ace is likely to win the ERA title and will look to strengthen his case for the Cy Young with a 29th consecutive start of three runs or fewer allowed, which would tie the MLB record. Southpaw Sean Newcomb will take the mound for Atlanta.

Erin Fish is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.