CHARLOTTE, N.C. (SYRACUSE METS) –
The Syracuse Mets kicked off their weeklong trip to the Charlotte in style, using a seven-run third inning to power the Mets to a 9-8 win over the Charlotte Knights at Truist Field on Tuesday night. The Mets have now won three out of their last four road games and have scored a combined 27 runs in their last two games on the road.
Charlotte (43-69) struck first, scoring single runs in the first and second innings to grab a 2-0 lead in the early going. After two quick outs in the bottom of the first, Adam Haseley was hit by a pitch, moved up to second on a wild pitch, and then scored on an RBI single from Carlos Perez to take a 1-0 lead.
The Knights doubled their lead in the bottom of the second inning, once again striking with two outs. Zach Remillard doubled to keep the inning alive, followed by a single into shallow left field by Laz Rivera to plate Remillard and up the lead to the Knights to 2-0.
That set the scene for a pivotal top of the third inning for Syracuse (49-63), who roared ahead for good with a seven-run outburst on seven hits. Travis Blankenhorn started it all with a solo shot with one out to make it 2-1, and then the wheels really started turning. Francisco Álvarez walked, and Dominic Smith reached on a fielding error to put two runners on base with one out. Mark Vientos followed with a blast well beyond the right-field fence that surged the Mets in front by a 4-2 count. It was Vientos’s 20th home run of the season, more than half of which have been opposite-field homers over the right-field wall.
However, Syracuse wasn’t done there in the third inning. With nobody on base and two outs, Gosuke Katoh restarted the rally with a sharp double down the right-field line followed by a Patrick Mazeika two-bagger that scored Katoh and made it 5-2. That was followed by a Khalil Lee single that scored Mazeika for a 6-2 Mets advantage. Then, J.T. Riddle punctuated the frame with a double that scored Lee to make it a 7-2 Syracuse edge, wrapping up the seven-run inning.
Charlotte chipped away at the deficit, scoring once in the fourth and two more times in the fifth. In the fourth, Carlos Perez hit his 17th home run of the season, a solo shot to make it a 7-3 game.
In the fifth, Remillard singled, and Laz Rivera doubled to start the inning with runners on second and third with nobody out. A sacrifice fly from Mark Payton scored Remillard to trim the Syracuse lead to three, 7-4, immediately followed by another sacrifice fly from Yolbert Sánchez to plate Rivera, make it 7-5, and wrap up the inning’s scoring.
Syracuse responded in the top of the sixth. After Dominic Smith walked with one out, a single from Mark Vientos put two runners right back on base. Daniel Palka followed with a single that plated Smith for am 8-5 edge and kept two runners on base with one out. A Gosuke Katoh fielder’s choice put him on first and Vientos on third with two outs. Then, Patrick Mazeika singled to score Vientos and make it 9-5 in favor of the road team.
Charlotte then began another comeback. In the seventh, a hit batter, throwing error on a pickoff attempt, and fly out to right, advanced Remillard to third with two outs. Payton then stroked a two-out single to the outfield to score Remillard and pull Charlotte withing three, 9-6.
The Knights continued their rally in the eighth, putting the tying and go-ahead runs on base. Mets reliever Michel Otañez entered the game out of the bullpen and walked Pérez to start the frame, followed by a strikeout of Romy Gonzalez. Micker Adolfo and Tyler Neslony both followed with singles to load up the bases. Remillard then walked, scoring Pérez to cut the Syracuse lead to two, 9-7, and keep the bases loaded with one out. Laz Rivera followed with a groundout into a fielder’s choice that scored Adolfo, moved Neslony to third, put Rivera at first, and made it a 9-8 game. Another walk, this one to Payton, loaded up the bases again and prompted the removal of Otañez from the game. Phillip Diehl came in and escaped the inning, inducing a line out to right field to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.
Diehl came back out for the ninth and sealed the deal, pitching a 1-2-3 frame to clinch the hard-fought victory for the Mets. By the end of the ballgame, the two teams combined for 17 runs and 22 hits. Both teams also left opportunities on the table, stranding 14 total runners on base. Syracuse left eight of those 14 runners on base in the game.
Syracuse and Charlotte continue their six-game series with the second game on Wednesday night. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m.