Noah Syndergaard’s performance quickly digressed into a Game of Moans on Saturday at Citi Field.
Here was Syndergaard, pitching in front of a packed house on a night his Game of Thrones bobblehead was distributed, worthy of a visit to the stockade to receive a dozen lashings.
Syndergaard labored early and was pummeled later in the Mets’ third straight loss, 8-6 to the Brewers, in front of 40,610.
The Mets (14-14) fell to .500 for the first time this season and looked discombobulated doing it. That included committing two errors and accumulating three wild pitches and a passed ball. The Brewers also stole three bases.
But none of that was as unsightly as Syndergaard (1-3), who turned in a third straight dismal performance and saw his ERA jump from 5.90 to 6.35. It came a night after ace Jacob deGrom imploded and bumped his ERA to 4.75. The Mets will desperately seek a strong performance from lefty Steven Matz in Sunday’s series finale.
Though Syndergaard has been partly a victim of bad luck this season, defending his Saturday performance would be difficult. The Brewers put 13 runners on base against the right-hander in five innings, which included two home runs.
And unlike in his last start, Syndergaard didn’t counter with a home run of his own.
Pete Alonso’s three-run blast in the seventh sliced the Brewers’ lead to 6-5 and brought hope the Mets could complete a wild comeback. But Jeurys Familia surrendered two runs in the eighth, burying the Mets in an 8-5 hole, and was booed as he left the field. Familia’s most significant gaffe was fielding Christian Yelich’s grounder near the first-base line instead of letting it roll foul. Ben Gambel scored on the play.
Another Mets miscue occurred before Alonso’s homer in the seventh: Travis d’Arnaud hit a shot into the left-field corner and was thrown out attempting to reach second with the Mets behind by four runs. Amed Rosario had homered earlier in the inning.
In the eighth, Rosario stroked an RBI single that brought the Mets within 8-6 and put the tying runs on base. But lefty fireballer Josh Hader entered and struck out Todd Frazier, Wilson Ramos and Jeff McNeil in succession to crush that rally. Hader then worked a perfect ninth.
The Brewers had extended their lead to 6-1 in the sixth on Mike Moustakas’ RBI single against Robert Gsellman, who pitched two innings behind Syndergaard.
Syndergaard’s night disintegrated in the fourth, when he allowed two homers to sink the Mets into a 5-1 hole. Ben Gamel and Christian Yelich each hit a solo homer in an inning Syndergaard received something of a reprieve when Lorenzo Cain was thrown out by d’Arnaud attempting to steal second.
Eric Thames stroked a two-run single in the third that gave the Brewers a 3-1 lead. Yelich and Moustakas singled in succession to open the inning and Travis Shaw’s walk loaded the bases before Thames delivered. Shaw was thrown out attempting to reach third on the play.
McNeil’s rambunctiousness at third base may have contributed to the Mets stealing a run in the third inning. With the Brewers shifting against Michael Conforto, McNeil danced halfway down the third-base line. Brandon Woodruff unleashed a wild pitch that allowed McNeil to score.
Woodruff pitched five innings for the Brewers and surrendered one earned run on six hits with one walk.
The Brewers received a gift in the first inning, when Alonso’s throwing error allowed Lorenzo Cain to score from second. Cain had rounded second on Moustakas’ ground out and Alonso attempted to throw behind him, to left fielder McNeil who had sneaked in behind the runner. But Alonso’s throw sailed into left-center, giving Cain plenty of time to race home.