Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mets use clutch HRs to back Thor, edge KC

An uncomfortable homestand for the Mets ended with at least one bit of solace, as they overcame injuries to multiple star players on Wednesday in a 4-3 win over the Royals, sweeping a two-game series at Citi Field.
Asdrubal Cabrera homered, reached base three times and scored twice, and rookie Matt Reynolds -- making his first professional start in left field -- hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth inning to give the Mets the lead for good. But as the Mets departed for what should have been a happy plane ride to Atlanta, they left starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes behind for medical examinations in New York.
Syndergaard won his sixth consecutive decision, but left after complaining of right elbow discomfort, an issue that has troubled him in the past. He gave up three runs over six innings before departing.
Cespedes also departed in the sixth inning due to left wrist discomfort.
"It's not ideal to have players go down every single day, but we've got a strong group of guys in here that never stop," Reynolds said of the injury-riddled Mets, who are also playing without Opening Day starters David Wright and Lucas Duda. "We're going to keep playing together and we're going to play hard."
Royals starter Danny Duffy was sharper than Syndergaard early, retiring seven consecutive Mets during one stretch. But he cracked for a James Loney RBI single in the fourth inning and Cabrera's two-run homer in the fifth, before Joakim Soria coughed up Reynolds' go-ahead homer one inning later.
"I thought Joakim threw the ball well," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "That was just a nice piece of hitting to drive the ball the other way out of the ballpark."
Powering up from a new position: Pressed into outfield duty because of slumps and roster issues elsewhere in the clubhouse, Reynolds more than justified the decision with the first home run of his career. It was a day of firsts for Reynolds, who had never before played the outfield at any professional level, and did not even own the proper glove until this spring.More >
"I felt comfortable," Reynolds said. "I felt like I can go back out there and play again if they need me to. I'm just here to do whatever it takes for the team to win."
Elbow woes: This is not the first time Syndergaard has experienced right elbow discomfort. Team doctors examined him earlier this season after he complained of a similar malady, but Syndergaard did not wind up missing a start. He featured something similar to his usual upper-90s velocity for much of Wednesday's game, topping out at 100 mph. More >
Get 'em while they last: Cheslor Cuthbert tallied the Royals' first run of the game off Syndergaard by sending a 90-mph changeup over the fence in left field in the fifth, and the rest of Kansas City's lineup did its best to chip in. Jarrod Dyson followed the homer with a single and then Duffy bunted him over, before Whit Merrifield singled to right field to give the Royals a 2-1 lead. Prior to the inning, the Mets' ace had allowed only one earned run over his last 30 innings at Citi Field.
"Cuthbert hit that nice home run and then we found a way to take the lead and then tie it [later in the game]," Yost said. "Syndergaard is a special pitcher. … I thought we did a real nice job against him."
Slick slide: The Mets seemed primed to squander a two-on, none-out rally in the fourth until Loney laced an opposite-field, two-out single to left. Cabrera motored around third base and, though Dyson's throw beat him to the general area of home plate, it was off line. Eluding catcher Salvador Perez's lunging tag, Cabrera skimmed his hand across the corner of the plate to score the Mets' first run. An inning later, Cabrera did not need to slide; he simply powered his two-run homer over the fence in left-center to give the Mets a short-lived one-run lead.
"Our bullpen has been really good, but you face good teams, too, and when they have a bat, they can make some damage."
-- Soria, who entered Wednesday's game with a 1.46 ERA in his previous 23 outings
Cespedes departed in the sixth, half an inning after grimacing at home plate during one of his swings and talking things over with trainer Ray Ramirez. The Mets later announced that he was suffering from left wrist discomfort. More >
Mets closer Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth to notch his 24th save in 24 chances, tying Armando Benitez's club record for consecutive saves to begin a season.
The Royals thought they had a chance at a big inning when Mets catcher Rene Rivera opted for the risky play on a Duffy sacrifice-bunt attempt in the third, firing to third base to throw out the lead runner. The Royals argued that Wilmer Flores' tag on Dyson was late, which would have given them runners on the corners with no outs. But the call stood after the review, resulting in one out with a man on first. The Royals did not score in the inning.
Royals: In the series-opening game of an American League Division Series rematch between Kansas City and Houston, Edinson Volquez (7-6, 4.12 ERA) will get the start for the Royals on Friday at 7:15 p.m. CT at Kauffman Stadium. In Game 3 of the 2015 ALDS, the right-hander took the loss after allowing three runs on five hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings while striking out eight.
Mets: The Mets will look to exact some revenge on an Atlanta team that swept them last weekend when they travel to Turner Field for a four-game series starting Thursday. Matt Harvey will open things up for the Mets in a 7:10 p.m. ET game, facing a Braves offense that has tagged him for nine runs in 16 2/3 innings over three previous starts this season.

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