SYRACUSE, N.Y. (SYRACUSE METS) –
The Syracuse Mets saw another New York Mets star dazzle on the mound on Wednesday night as Max Scherzer tossed a strong rehab start for Syracuse. Scherzer, the three-time Cy Young Award winner, is the second different former Cy Young Award winner to start for Syracuse this season. Jacob deGrom made a pair of rehab starts in July. As for the game itself, Buffalo won a tightly contested game by a 2-1 final in ten innings. Buffalo now has won 13 of the 20 games that have played against Syracuse this season.
Scherzer, making his first Triple-A start since late May of 2010, began with a flourish, striking out two batters in a scoreless top of the first inning. In the second, the right-hander hit a brief speed bump when LJ Talley hit a solo home run to start the frame for a 1-0 Buffalo lead. After that, Scherzer went on cruise control for the remainder of the outing. He left with nobody on base and two outs in the top of the fourth, racking up seven strikeouts and walking just one batter while surrendering three hits and the one earned run. The 38-year-old attacked the strike zone, tossing 41 strikes among 59 total pitches. Five of the seven Scherzer strikeouts were also swinging strikeouts.
After that, the game settled into a well-played pitcher’s duel. Casey Lawrence tossed quite the outing for Buffalo (71-64), holding Syracuse (56-81) off the board in five scoreless innings with four strikeouts and not a single walk. The 34-year-old right-hander has befuddled the Mets all season long, allowing just one earned run in 17 and one-third combined innings in three starts with 16 strikeouts and zero walks.
On the other side, the Mets bullpen kept the margin razor thin. The first four pitchers to work after Scherzer (Sam Clay, Michel Otanez, Eric Orze, and R.J Alvarez) combined to toss the next five and one-third innings in scoreless fashion on just one hit and two walks with seven strikeouts. Alvarez was electric in his two innings of work, tossing scoreless eighth and ninth innings with three strikeouts to his name.
After leaving six runners on base in the fourth through seventh innings, the Mets finally broke through and scored a run to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. After Travis Jankowski walked to start the inning, Jake Mangum looped a double into the left-field corner, scoring Jankowski all the way from first and tying the game, 1-1, in one full swoop. Mangum finished the night 2-for-4 at the plate, his fifth multi-hit game in the last six games. Jankowski has also reached in 21 straight games, a new season-high on-base streak for the Syracuse Mets.
The game remained tied, 1-1, into extra innings when Buffalo did just enough to win the ballgame. With the placed runner at second base (John Aiello) with nobody out in the top of the tenth, Cullen Large singled to put runners on first and third with nobody out. The next batter, Yoshi Tsutsugo, lofted a fly ball into left field that scored Aiello and made it a 2-1 ballgame. Locke St. John managed to evacuate the inning after that for the Mets, inducing a lineout and a groundout to keep the game at 2-1 Buffalo into the bottom of the tenth.
In the bottom of the tenth, JT Riddle started as the placed runner at second base with nobody out for Syracuse. He moved to third on a Jankowski groundout, followed by a Mangum strikeout that put the Mets one out away from a loss. Francisco Álvarez kept the comeback hope alive with a two-out walk, but then Dominic Smith struck out looking to end the game and give Buffalo a 2-1 win.
Syracuse plays its final six-game home series of the series against the Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A affiliate, Toronto Blue Jays) all week long at NBT Bank Stadium. The first game in the series is set for a 6:35 first pitch on Thursday evening.