Familia escapes jam in 9th, Mets beat Cubs 2-1
CHICAGO (AP) — Jeurys Familia lost control, but not the lead, and kept the Mets ahead and his consecutive save streak intact.
New York’s closer escaped a bases-loaded jam with a game-ending double play after Rene Rivera drove in the tiebreaking run with two outs in the top of the ninth, lifting New York over the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Tuesday night.
Familia walked Addison Russell and Miguel Montero to start the ninth, then Javier Baez reached on a bunt single when third baseman Jose Reyes threw wide to first. Pinch-hitter Matt Szczur hit a grounder to first baseman James Loney, and Loney threw out Russell at the plate.
Kris Bryant then hit into a 5-4-3 double play to give Familia his 33rd save in 33 chances this season and 49th straight dating to Aug. 1, 2015.
“I just always try in a situation like that, to throw my sinker down and let them make contact with a groundball and believe in myself,” Familia said. “I just try to believe and think I can do it.”
Familia’s teammates kept their cool, too
“I know Familia is going to do it,” catcher Rivera said. “I know he has been there before. After the first couple of batters, I went out there and gave him support.”
Rivera had the third single in the ninth — following hits by Loney and Asdrubal Cabrera — off Hector Rondon (1-2) as the Mets beat the Cubs for the fifth time in six games after sweeping them in last year’s NL Championship Series.
Hansel Robles (4-3) pitched two scoreless innings in relief for the win.
All-Star right-handers Jake Arrieta of the Cubs and Noah Syndergaard of the Mets returned to dominant form in no decisions.
Arrieta retired 14 of the first 15 Mets hitters, including 12 straight following Yoenis Cespedes’ single in the first. He allowed one run and struck out eight in seven innings, his longest outing since June 11. Last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner got back on track after allowing four or more earned runs in three consecutive starts for the first time since 2012.
“That was a little more like it,” Arrieta said. “I was really aggressive in the strike zone and I was using my off-speed pretty much throughout the whole game.”
Syndergaard gave up one unearned run on seven hits through 5 2/3 innings. He struck out eight before being replaced by Jerry Blevins after throwing 105 pitches.
Syndergaard had his velocity early, reaching 100 mph in the first inning, and was able to escape jams in the first and second. He left in the fifth inning of his previous start, on July 8, with arm fatigue after allowing three runs in a loss to Washington.
“It was great to come in here and squeeze out a win against their ace,” Syndergaard said. “My arm felt really loose and fluid even later in the game.”
New York’s Michael Conforto made his first start, in right field, since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Sunday and went 0 for 3. He had pinch-hit on Monday and singled.
Arrieta doubled with two out in the fourth, then was thrown out at the plate when he tried to score on Tommy La Stella’s single. At first, Arrieta was ruled safe by umpire Eric Cooper, but he was called out following a video review.
Mets manager Terry Collins is concerned about overloading Conforto too soon after his recall, so he started the 23-year-old in right field and Curtis Granderson in center on Tuesday with the wind blowing in at Wrigley Field. Conforto may see time in center in the future, though.
Conforto got off to a nice start with the Mets but was sent down on June 25 after a prolonged slump.
“This kid got sent out because he wasn’t hitting,” Collins said before the game. “He gets his swing back and comes up and the first thing that hits him in the face is to play center field. So we’re going to ease him into it.”
Both Collins and Chicago manager Joe Maddon loaded their starting lineups with lefties against two of the major’s premier right-handed starters.
Maddon called out the split against Syndergaard as “enormously different.” Righties entered hitting .210 against him, lefties were batting .282. Against Arrieta, righties were hitting .182, lefties were at .215.
Mets: The team said RHP Matt Harvey was resting comfortably after having season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet surgery in St. Louis on Monday.
Cubs: All-Star 2B Ben Zobrist batted fourth after getting two days off. ... OFs Dexter Fowler (right hamstring strain) and Jorge Soler (left hamstring strain) had the start of their rehab stints at Triple-A pushed back a day when the Iowa Cubs were rained out. Maddon said both were close to returning, but he “didn’t know exactly.”
RHP Bartolo Colon (8-4, 3.11) squares off against Chicago RHP Kyle Hendricks (8-6, 2.41) in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon. Hendricks allowed just three hits in six shutout innings in his last start against Texas on Friday and has a 1.70 ERA in his last 11 outings.