MIAMI — Noah Syndergaard is almost there, but remains an unfinished product.
Even so, the Mets can take comfort knowing the chance to win is significant even on a night their co-ace doesn’t have his best stuff. This was Syndergaard Monday at Marlins Park, dealing with heavy traffic on the bases for six innings, but ultimately getting the outs he needed.
With Syndergaard formidable, the Mets extended their winning streak to six games with a 4-2 victory over the Marlins. The Mets (8-1) matched the best start in franchise history over nine games, on a night they were forced to scrape for runs.
Amed Rosario was a key contributor from the lineup with a 2-for-4 performance that included an RBI single in the seventh to give the Mets a cushion.
After arriving to the team hotel around 5 a.m. following a Sunday night game in Washington that lasted 12 innings, the Mets could be excused for lacking crispness. Yoenis Cespedes, who has battled flu-like symptoms, was among the veterans who told manager Mickey Callaway he wanted in the lineup. Overall, the only substitution from the previous night’s starting lineup was Kevin Plawecki behind the plate instead of Travis d’Arnaud.
Syndergaard (2-0) allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits with two walks and a hit batter over six innings and five strikeouts. In all, it was better than his Opening Day performance against the Cardinals in which he surrendered two home runs. And it was better than his start last Wednesday, when he allowed two runs against the Phillies over four innings.
But these also are the hapless Marlins, who blew up the team over the winter, as new CEO Derek Jeter traded most notably Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon. What remains is largely a Triple-A team that will be hard-pressed to avoid 100 losses this season.
Brian Anderson pushed Syndergaard to the brink in the sixth, smashing an RBI double that sliced the Mets’ lead to 3-2. Starlin Castro’s leadoff single and steal of second provided the springboard for the Marlins.
The Mets bullpen continued its dominance as Hansel Robles, Jerry Blevins, AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia combined for three scoreless innings. Entering play, the Mets had a 1.31 ERA from their relievers, which ranked second in the major leagues. The Mets had an overall 2.40 ERA, which also ranked second in the majors.
Syndergaard surrendered an unearned run in the fifth on Derek Dietrich’s RBI single that pulled the Marlins within 3-1. Rosario misplayed Anderson’s grounder leading off the inning for an error before Syndergaard walked the next two batters to load the bases. But following Dietrich’s single, Syndergaard got the final out to leave three stranded.
Jay Bruce smacked a third-inning RBI single that provided the Mets their third run. The veteran outfielder was serenaded to “Br-uuuce” by a largely partisan Mets crowd as he ran to first. Rosario scored on the play after opening the inning with a double.
Adrian Gonzalez’s recent surge continued with an RBI single in the second against Jose Urena that gave the Mets their first run. A night earlier, Gonzalez smashed a grand slam in Washington — his first homer with the Mets — to lead a 6-5 victory in 12 innings. The Mets added another run in the second on Monday when Plawecki hit into a double play with runners on the corners.
Callaway became the first Mets manager with eight victories in nine games to begin his tenure. Joe Torre in 1977 was the only other Mets manager who began with seven victories in eight games.