Mets sweep Marlins in doubleheader, Noah Syndergaard makes first MLB mound appearance in two years as Game 2 starter

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The drought, at long last, is over.

The Mets snapped their five-game losing streak and won their first game in nine days by beating the Marlins, 5-2, in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Citi Field. Marcus Stroman threw five solid innings, his only blemish a two-run home run to Lewin Diaz in the fourth inning, to complete his major-league leading 33rd start of the year.

“I’m open to anything,” Stroman, who becomes a free agent this offseason, said of staying with the Mets. “At this point in my career, I can’t wait to be on a team where I’m going to be there for longer than a year.”

The nightcap, which the Mets won, 2-1, in their final at-bat, began with a high-wattage buzz.

Noah Syndergaard started Game 2 against the Marlins for his season debut and first major-league outing since Sept. 29, 2019. With an arsenal limited to fastballs and changeups, Syndergaard struck out Miguel Rojas on a 96-mph high heater for his first out. He plowed through the top of Miami’s order with another strikeout against Jazz Chisholm Jr. before ending his one-inning, 10-pitch outing on a groundout to Bryan De La Cruz.

“I was walking out of the dugout, hearing the fans, I almost shed a little tear,” Syndergaard said. “I’m not an emotional guy, but it definitely got to me.”

Syndergaard tipped his cap to the crowd, an excited fan base that gave him a standing ovation, on his way into the Mets dugout. Every one of Syndergaard’s teammates high-fived him in celebration of his long road back from the Tommy John surgery he underwent in March 2020.

He becomes a free agent after the season, and Syndergaard said part of why he was so emotional was because he thought about Tuesday night possibly being his final Citi Field start as a Met. But he said he’d be grateful to accept a one-year qualifying offer around $20 million from the Mets, which would allow him to stay in Queens another year and build up his post-Tommy-John resume.

“I’m fairly confident that we’ll reach an agreement and I’ll be pitching here next year,” said Syndergaard, before adding that he’s purely speculating and hoping for that outcome.

Former Cub and impending free agent Javy Baez, who scored Game 2′s walk-off run and whose Mets future is also uncertain, said he’s just glad he didn’t have to face Syndergaard’s dangerous fastball on Tuesday. Baez, too, has mentioned in recent weeks that he would be open to playing for the Mets long-term.

Stroman (10-13, 3.02 ERA) has started nine of the Mets’ 28 seven-inning games this season. The Mets (74-82) played their 14th and final scheduled doubleheader on Tuesday. In addition to his consistent outings on the mound – Stroman has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 24 starts this year – he brought some spice to the basepaths.

He reached base on a throwing error by Marlins third baseman Eddy Alvarez in the second inning. Then, with two outs and Brandon Nimmo just digging into the box, Stoman pulled off his first-career stolen base. Marlins catcher Nick Fortes was completely caught off guard, as his throw to second base ended up in shallow center field. Stroman moved to third on Fortes’ error, but Nimmo flew out to right field to end the threat.

“We were actually talking about it before the game with [Jacob] deGrom, Taijuan [Walker], and Luis [Rojas]. I told them if I got on I was going to steal,” Stroman said. “The situation happened to present itself, so I was like I gotta do it. I can’t be all talk. So I just got a good jump and got there in good time.”

Stroman became the 15th pitcher in franchise history to swipe a bag. Jacob deGrom was the last Mets pitcher to do it successfully, on Aug. 2, 2017 against the Dodgers at Citi Field. Following Stroman’s dash on the basepaths, Mets pitchers have stolen 21 bases in the team’s history.

Mets hitters, livelier on their home turf after going 0-5 on their road trip to Boston and Milwaukee, scored in the first inning to give Stroman some support. Brandon Nimmo ripped a leadoff triple and Francisco Lindor promptly drove him in with an RBI single. Lindor later homered, a two-run shot to left field, for his 19th home run of the season. The shortstop has crushed eight home runs in September.

Tuesday’s Game 1 victory was Luis Rojas’ 100th win as manager. He has a 100-116 record across two seasons as the team’s skipper.

“Any team would love to have Marcus Stroman,” Rojas said. “He is a great teammate. He wants the ball. You have a competitor.”

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