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Syndergaard, Mets fall to Cards in 1st game of doubleheader

By BEN WALKERJuly 27, 2016
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard delivers during the first inning of the first game of a baseball doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tuesday, July 26, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard delivers during the first inning of the first game of a baseball doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tuesday, July 26, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK (AP) — Noah Syndergaard kept it close, manager Terry Collins won a pair of replay challenges and the New York Mets threw out three runners on the bases.

They just didn’t do quite enough to beat the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Mets remained stuck in a recent holding pattern, falling to St. Louis 3-2 Tuesday in the opener of a doubleheader. New York has alternated wins and losses for the last 11 games.

“I don’t know how many times I got to say it, this is crunch time,” Collins said. “Say whatever you want, this is the time where we got to win games, string them together, win eight out of 10.”

Jedd Gyorko homered for the sixth time in eight games, hitting a two-run drive off Syndergaard (9-5). Rene Rivera hit a two-run homer off Carlos Martinez (10-6).

The Mets played at home for the first time since the All-Star break and lost in a matchup of NL wild-card contenders. Citi Field was nearly empty at the start, a day after a rainout forced the twinbill.

Syndergaard has won only one of his last five starts. The All-Star had a tough sequence in the second — he got hit in the lower right leg by Tommy Pham’s one-hop single to load the bases, then made a wild, off-balance throw home on Martinez’s comebacker to let a run score.

Gyorko homered the next inning.

“I just think the Cardinals did a really good job of getting my pitch count high in the first two innings,” Syndergaard said.

“There was some series of unfortunate events that happened in the second inning that got my pitch count elevated. And from that point I’m just trying to last as long as I can out there, knowing that it’s a doubleheader, trying to give the bullpen a break,” he said.

Syndergaard struck out eight in six innings.

Martinez left after the fifth inning. Three relievers finished, with Seung Hwan Oh getting his fifth save in six chances.

Curtis Granderson led off the Mets ninth with a single but was thrown out trying to tag up on Yoenis Cespedes’ drive that Pham caught in deep center field.

Gyorko was hitless in his previous 10 at-bats when he connected in the third. St. Louis has homered in 16 straight games, its best streak since a team-record 19-game string in 2006.

The Cardinals opened a 10-game trip that also takes them to Miami and Cincinnati. They arrived at their New York hotel around 8:30 a.m. Monday after plane trouble, and the rainout gave them some much-needed rest.

TWO TIMING

This was the first doubleheader between the Cardinals and Mets since 1999. ... The Cardinals swept a twinbill from San Diego last Wednesday.

26TH MAN

The Cardinals recalled RHP Sam Tuivailala as the 26th player for the second game. He’s made three relief appearances for St. Louis this year. The Mets brought up 27-year-old lefty Josh Smoker — he’s made 43 relief appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas, and has never been in the majors.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: LHP Jaime Garcia (7-6, 3.98) pitches Game 2. He is 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA in five career starts against the Mets. That’s his lowest ERA vs. any opponent.

Mets: RHP Bartolo Colon (8-5, 3.48) faces the Cardinals in the second game. He went 0-2 with a 15.58 ERA against them last year.

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