An early rally by the offense, headlined by Daniel Murphy, and strong pitching by Noah Syndergaard into the sixth inning led to a 4-1 victory by the Mets over the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS at Citi Field on Sunday night. The Mets now hold a comfortable 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta allowed three runs to the Mets in the bottom of the first inning before he was able to record an out. Curtis Granderson hit a line drive past the shift on the right side and David Wright promptly drove him in with a deep double to right-center. Murphy put an exclamation point on the inning when he snuck a line drive inside the foul pole down the right field line, staking the Mets to a 3-0 lead. The home run if Murphy’s fifth of this post-season, setting a Mets record. He’s gone yard in four consecutive playoff games, one shy of Carlos Beltran‘s record set with the Astros in 2004.
Granderson saved a run on Syndergaard’s behalf when he robbed Chris Coghlan of a home run in the second inning. Shortly thereafter, he manufactured a run with his legs in the third inning after leading off with a walk. David Wright struck out, but Granderson moved himself into scoring position by stealing second base. Cubs manager Joe Maddon opted to intentionally walk the red-hot Murphy. With Yoenis Cespedes batting, Granderson swiped third base. Cespedes followed up with a ground ball in the hole between third base and shortstop, reaching safely when Javier Baez was unable to make a play. Granderson scored easily to make it 4-0.
Arrieta lasted five innings, serving up four runs on four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
Syndergaard was humming along until the sixth. Dexter Fowler singled and advanced to second base on a wild pitch with one out, then came home on a well-struck two-out double to left field by Kris Bryant. That ended Syndergaard’s shutout and his night; lefty Jon Niese entered and struck out Anthony Rizzo to escape the frame. Syndergaard finished having allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Addison Reed worked a perfect seventh inning for the Mets. Tyler Clippard worked around a two-out Fowler single to finish the eighth. Closer Jeurys Familia, whose availability was in question until late Sunday afternoon, worked around a one-out infield single by Rizzo, getting Starlin Castro to ground out to shortstop and Coghlan tapped out on a grounder to first base.
The Mets and Cubs will have a day off on Monday with which to travel to Chicago. The NLCS resumes on Tuesday at 8:00 PM EDT with Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom starting against Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks.