NEW YORK: New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard set the tone with his opening throw and his decision to challenge Kansas City batters paid off in a World Series victory.
“I feel like it really made a statement to start the game off, that you guys can’t dig in and get too aggressive because I’ll come in there,” said Syndergaard, the long-haired righthander nicknamed “Thor” who put the hammer down with a first pitch at head level to Royals leadoff man Alicides Escobar.
Syndergaard’s efforts helped propel the Mets to a 9-3 victory that pulled New York within 2-1 in the best-of-seven Major League Baseball final.
Escobar and his teammates said Syndergaard seemed to be looking for trouble in nearly hitting a batter to open the contest, but Syndergaard said it was important to set a tone.
Syndergaard pitched 104 times over six innings and allowed three runs on seven hits, although he surrendered only one hit past the second inning, retiring 12 Royals in a row at one stage.
It worked until the sixth when the Royals loaded the bases on a single and two walks, putting the tying run on first base. Mets manager Terry Collins kept him in the game and he induced a ground out to end the threat.
Mets captain David Wright said the struggle made Syndergaard’s start better than some of his more apparently dominant outings.
“It’s more impressive what he did tonight than what he’s been doing all postseason, because he’s been cruising,” Wright said. “
What he might have is a chance to pitch again. The 23-year-old is the Mets’ scheduled game-seven starter in Kansas City if the Series goes the distance.