CHARLOTTE, N.C. (SYRACUSE METS) –
In a week of slugfests at Truist Field in Charlotte, Saturday night’s game bucked the trend. After the two teams combined to score 76 runs in the first four games of the series, just seven total runs were scored in Saturday night’s game on the MLB Network. Charlotte had more of those runs, taking a 4-3 decision that handed the Knights their third win in the six-game series. While the scoring output in the game did not follow the pattern of the week, the tight and competitive nature of the evening sure did. Each of the first five games in this week’s series has been decided by just one run.
For the third straight game, Syracuse (50-66) got on the board first. The Mets started the scoring early, plating a run in the top of the first when Dominic Smith singled with one out followed by a double from Mark Vientos off the top of the center-field wall that allowed Smith to run all the way home with the game’s first run and a 1-0 Mets lead.
Syracuse scored again in the top of the fourth inning, scratching across a run to make it a 2-0 ballgame. JT Riddle continued his excellent week at the plate with a leadoff single, promptly moving up to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Gosuke Katoh. A Juan Loyo single moved Riddle up another 90 feet to third base, and then Travis Jankowski grounded a single on the infield that plated Riddle and made it a 2-0 cushion for the Mets. So far this week, Riddle has at least two hits in each of the five games. He’s gone a combined 11-for-21, good for a .524 batting average.
From there, Syracuse starting pitcher José Rodriguez settled into a very solid start, tossing the first four innings in scoreless fashion with just one hit allowed. However, Charlotte (46-70) did get to him in the bottom of the fifth inning, tying the game on a two-out, two-strike, two-run homer from Mark Payton to make it 2-2. However, Rodriguez got out of the remainder of the inning without further damage, finishing his start with five innings of two-run ball on just two hits and three walks.
The game remained tight until the bottom of the seventh inning when the Knights continued to play long ball to get their winning push. In the seventh, Micker Adolfo hit his 11th home run, a solo blast over the left-field fence to make it a 3-2 game and give Charlotte the lead for good.
In the eighth, the Knights added an important insurance run when Lenyn Sosa crushed a solo shot of his own over the center-field fence to give Charlotte a 4-2 advantage.
Entering the top of the ninth, the Mets were down two runs and still had a shot to create a little late magic. After Smith popped out to start the inning, Vientos hit an opposite-field blast over the right-field fence to slash the deficit down to just one run, 4-3. The 22-year-old leads Syracuse with 22 home runs this season, more than half of which have been hit to the opposite field. The comeback dream was alive, but it wouldn’t come true on this Saturday night. Daniel Palka grounded out and Travis Blankenhorn struck out to end the game and hand Charlotte its third win of the week.
Despite the loss, Mark Vientos continues to put up numbers that are utterly eye-popping. Since July 10th, Vientos has batted .355 with six doubles, seven home runs, and 24 RBIs in 24 games. He has also slugged .645 and reached in all but one of those 24 games
Truist Field in Charlotte is known for being a hitter’s paradise, and this week has held true to form. The two teams have also combined for 21 home runs in the first five games of the series.
Syracuse is on the road this whole week for a six-game series against the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, the Charlotte Knights. Sunday night’s series finale is slated to start at 5:05 p.m.