Noah Syndergaard is proving to be everything the New York Mets organization thought he would be when he was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays a few short years ago. The right-hander showed on Thursday morning that he is more than just a guy with a live arm, but is one that can deliver a big hit as well. Syndergaard stymied the Albuquerque Isotopes for eight innings, and went 3-4 at the plate, including a home run, in an 8-2 Las Vegas 51s victory. The victory extended the club’s winning streak to 14 games.
Last night the 51s had to come up with a big late inning rally to keep the win streak alive. A run in the eighth tied the game, and three in the ninth gave Las Vegas the win. That kind of late heroics is emblematic of why this club is so good, because manager Wally Backman has them believing they can win on any night, no matter what the game situation is.
Thursday morning the 51s were not interested in late heroics. They knew they had their ace on the hill, jumped out to a 6-0 lead before Albuquerque could score, and then just rolled to the 8-2 victory.
Travis Taijeron and Dan Rohlfing got Las Vegas going in the second inning. Taijeron singled with one out, and scored when Rohlfing doubled into centerfield. That was Rohlfing’s third RBI of the season.
In the top of the third Syndergaard looked to help his own cause. He belted his second double of the year to lead off the frame, and scored when Darrell Ceciliani ripped a line drive triple to the wall in rightfield. Two outs later Brandon Allen hit a double of his own, scoring Ceciliani to make it 3-0.
In the top of the fourth the 51s added two more runs. Kyle Johnson singled off of Isotopes starter Shane Carle with two outs, and Syndergaard followed with his first homer of the year, a shot that cleared the wall in centerfield.
In the sixth Eric Campbell walked with one out, and came home one out later on Taijeron’s second double of the year to make it 6-0. The Las Vegas 51s rightfielder has been ridiculously hot of late. He may not be able to split atoms, but Taijeron has sure crushed Isotope pitchers offerings. In the seven games against Albuquerque this season he is 11-21 with 4 runs, and 3 RBI. He is also 13 for his last 29 (.449).
Syndergaard had a double and a home run in his first two at-bats, scoring two runs and driving home two others. Let us not forget that for the first five innings he was shutting out Albuquerque, allowing just one hit. The 51s starter retired 15 of the first 16 batters he faced, striking out five along the way.
In the sixth the Isotopes finally got on the board. Jose Rivera led off with a double and scored two outs later when Tim Smalling singled up the middle. In the seventh they were able to score one more when Ben Paulsen led off the inning with his second home run of the year.
That would be all the runs that Syndergaard (3-0) would allow. He remained undefeated on the season, pitching eight innings, allowing five hits and two runs, while not walking a batter. He also struck out eight. The right-hander is having his best season so far, and is making a case to join the New York Mets roster soon.
In the eighth inning the Las Vegas 51s added two more insurance runs. Rohlfing singled and Johnson doubled to lead off the inning. The Isotopes finally got Syndergaard out, but Ceciliani singled to score Rohlfing. Following a Matt Reynolds walk, Campbell was hit by a pitch, driving in Johnson and that would end the scoring.
The Las Vegas 51s pounded out 13 hits, seven of which went for extra bases (5 doubles, a triple and a home run). Ceciliani, Taijeron, Rohlfing, and Johnson each had two hits. Ceciliani joined Syndergaard in driving home two runs.
On Friday the Las Vegas 51s look to extend their winning streak to 15 games when they travel to El Paso to face the Chihuahuas. Darin Gorsky (2-1) will go for the visitors against James Needy (2-2). Albuquerque travels to Sacramento. Jon Gray (1-3) faces off against Ty Blach (2-2).
By Robert Pannier