MIAMI — Noah Syndergaard can deal, but opponents continue to steal.
The Mets right-hander is in the midst of a solid, yet abbreviated season — two trips to the disabled list have limited his work — but his ascent to greatness might hinge on figuring out how to contain base runners.
On Sunday, the Marlins stole three bases against him and watched two of those runners score on subsequent singles. But the Mets received just enough offensive spark in a 4-3 victory at Marlins Park that marked a second straight series win. The Mets’ last consecutive series wins came in April, when the team improved to 12-2.
Overall, Syndergaard lasted seven innings and allowed three earned runs on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. It was a second respectable start for Syndergaard in his three since coming off the disabled list after a bout with hand, foot and mouth disease, but the Mets are still expecting better.
Most noticeably, opposing base stealers are 20-of-22 with Syndergaard on the mound this season.
“The one thing we always talk to him about is controlling the running game,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “For him to be that elite pitcher that does a really good job at preventing runs is controlling the running game a little bit. A lot of the runs he gave up this year were probably due to a stolen base and a ground ball that gets through or something like that, so that is one of the things.”
The Marlins pulled within 4-3 against Syndergaard in the seventh, after Martin Prado stole second with two outs and scored on Bryan Holaday’s RBI single.
Michael Conforto’s 15th homer of the season, a solo blast in the sixth, gave the Mets a cushion with a 4-2 lead. Conforto entered play as the Mets’ best offensive player since the All-Star break, batting .310 during that stretch. His homer Sunday was his fourth in the second half.
Syndergaard allowed a run in the first and another in the fourth. In the first, Starlin Castro stroked an RBI single after Rafael Ortega’s steal of second base. In the fourth, Holaday’s RBI single pulled the Marlins within 3-2.
Jose Reyes smashed a two-run homer in the second that extended the Mets’ lead to 3-1. It was the fourth homer this season for the disappointing Reyes, who entered batting .185 and is likely facing the final six weeks of his major league career.