Moosic, PA (SYRACUSE METS) – The 2019 Syracuse Mets season came to an end on Tuesday afternoon with a 14-13 loss to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC Park in the one-game playoff to determine the International League North Division champion. Syracuse had leads of 6-0, 7-1, and 13-6, but an eight-run bottom of the eighth inning for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre proved to be the difference in the game. The Mets finish the season with a 75-66 record. Despite the loss, Syracuse had a league-best 33-19 record since the All-Star Break and won 16 of its last 21 games.
Syracuse (75-66) got off to a fast start with five runs in the first inning. Arismendy Alcantara singled, and Jed Lowrie doubled to put runners on second and third base. Danny Espinosa then grounded out to second base, but Alcantara scored on the play for a 1-0 lead. After Jason Krizan walked, Rubén Tejada grounded a ball back to the mound, but an errant throw to second base allowed Krizan to reach second, Tejada to reach first, and Lowrie scored on the play for a 2-0 advantage. Aaron Altherr was then hit by a pitch to reload the bases. Braxton Lee then grounded out to first, scoring Krizan from third to push the lead to 3-0. After another walk, Grégor Blanco hit a two-run single to right field to bring the score to 5-0.
Blanco added another Mets run in the third on a solo home run, his career-high 13th of the season, giving Syracuse a 6-0 advantage.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (76-65) started to chip away in the fourth. With one out, Breyvic Valera walked, and Kyle Higashioka doubled to put runners on second and third. Erik Kratz then grounded out to third, scoring Valera from third to make the score 6-1.
The Mets got that run back in the seventh. Back-to-Back doubles by Espinosa and Krizan pushed the lead back to six, 7-1.
The RailRiders began to make the game interesting in the seventh. Higashioka led off the inning with a solo home run to bring the deficit to five, 7-2. Then Kratz, Gosuke Katoh, and Wendell Rijo each singled to load the bases and chase Syracuse starting pitcher Ervin Santana from the game. Former RailRider Nick Rumbelow then came in relief for the Mets and allowed singles to Zack Zehner and Brandon Wagner, each bringing home a run and making the score now 7-4. A walk to Billy Burns forced in a fourth run of the inning to trim the Syracuse edge to 7-5. Mets reliever Stephen Nogosek then came in and got Mandy Alvarez to ground into a double play, but Zehner scored, capping a five-run inning and bringing the hosts within a run, 7-6.
But in impressive fashion, the Mets responded swiftly in the next half inning, extending their lead past the six-run margin where it had been entering the bottom of the seventh. Lee and Ali Sanchez singled, and five pitches into the inning Syracuse had two runners on. Blanco then singled to center field, moving Sanchez to third and scoring Lee for Blanco’s fourth RBI of the game and an 8-6 Mets advantage. Then after a pop out, Sanchez scored on a wild pitch to push the score to 9-6. Pinch hitter Travis Taijeron and Espinosa both followed with walks, and with the bases loaded, Krizan doubled for the second time in the game and sixth time in his last three games to bring home two more runs and push the Mets lead back to five, 11-6. After a pitching change, Tejada doubled to right field to score two more runs and give Syracuse its largest lead of the game at 13-6.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre completed the comeback in the bottom of the eighth. Higashioka led off with another home run to make it a 13-7 ballgame. Kratz was hit by a pitch, Katoh walked, and Rijo walked to load the bases. The Mets then turned to Brooks Pounders out of the bullpen. Zehner hit a sacrifice fly to center field for a 13-8 game, and Wagner singled home a run to make the score 13-9. Burns followed with a walk to reload the bases, and Alvarez singled after that to cut the Syracuse lead to three, 13-10. A Breyvic Valera sac fly in foul territory down the right-field line brought home another run for a 13-11 game. Then, Higashioka walked. Terrance Gore pinch ran for Higashioka and stole second base. With Gore at second and Alvarez at third, Kratz hit a double to the left-field wall to score both Alvarez and Gore to give the RailRiders a 14-13 lead.
Syracuse went down in order 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to end the game and the season.
This year’s 75-66 record for Syracuse is its best regular-season record since an 81-62 season in 2014 when the team won the International League North Division title.