SYRACUSE, N.Y. (SYRACUSE METS) –
The Syracuse Mets played one of their best all-around games of the season on Friday night, riding strong pitching and balanced hitting on their way to an 8-3 win over the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A affiliate, Washington Nationals) on a gloriously sunny and warm September Friday night at NBT Bank Stadium. The six-game series is now tied at two games apiece.
Early on, it looked like it may be Rochester’s (58-75) night, as the Red Wings plated two runs in the top of the first. With Lucius Fox on first base and two outs, Jake Alu came to the plate and did damage once again, launching a two-run shot over the right-field fence for a 2-0 lead for the Red Wings. Alu finished the night 2-for-3 at the plate with three runs driven in. So far in the series, Alu is a combined 8-for-16 with two doubles, three home runs and nine runs driven in.
From there, Syracuse (55-78) would take control in a nearly wire-to-wire win. The Mets tied it right back up in the bottom of the first inning. First, Travis Jankowski walked to start the inning, stole second and scored on an RBI single from Luis Guillorme, the rehabbing Big Leaguer who finished the night 2-for-3 at the plate plus a walk. Later on in the inning, Guillorme scored himself to tie the game, advancing to third on a Mark Vientos single and scoring on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the second, the Mets scored a pair of runs again to take a 4-2 lead. Jake Mangum led off the inning with a single, swiping his way up to second with one out. JT Riddle then brought him home, pounding a double down the right-field line for his second extra-base hit of the week. Later on in the inning, Riddle came home and made it a 4-2 game. He advanced to third on a Michael Perez infield single and scored on an RBI fielder’s choice from Travis Jankowski.
In the third, the Mets blew it open with three pivotal runs to make it a 7-2 game. On the first pitch of the frame, Vientos hit maybe the most majestic home run of the season for Syracuse, a moonshot solo home run that nearly hit the top of the batter’s eye in dead centerfield. After Vientos’ 24th home run of the year made it 5-2, the Mets tacked on two more runs later on in the inning. Dominic Smith walked and Daniel Palka singled to put two runners on base with one out, followed by a double from Yolmer Sanchez down the left-field line that plated them both and made it a 7-2 game.
It would prove to be a well-balanced attack at the plate all night long for the Syracuse Mets. By the end of the game, every single starter reached base at least once, seven different players scored at least one run and seven different players had at least one hit. The Mets finished the evening with 12 total hits.
While the offense was slugging at the plate, the pitching held up its end of the bargain. After a shaky first inning, Jesus Vargas settled into quite the groove in his second Triple-A start of the season, tossing four innings of two-run ball on three hits with two strikeouts. The bullpen backed him up from there, as Tylor Megill, Josh Walker and Yoan Lopez combined to pitch the final five innings in one-run fashion on just four hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
Megill grabbed the headlines out of the bullpen. In his second rehab appearance in Triple-A this season, the hulking righthanded pitcher once again worked a 1-2-3 frame. This time, he pitched a perfect fifth inning with one strikeout. Megill also pitched on Wednesday night, tossing a scoreless sixth inning with another strikeout.
Syracuse got its final run in the seventh, tacking on an insurance run to cap the scoring at an 8-3 final. Smith reached on an error starting the frame, moved up to second on a Palka single, up to third on a Mangum walk, and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Sanchez. Smith was the only Met to score twice in the game. Sanchez finished the contest with three runs driven in.
Syracuse continues its six-game series against the Rochester Red Wings on Saturday night. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. Jose Rodriguez is scheduled to start for the Mets, opposed by Logan Verrett for the Red Wings.