NEW YORK (AP) — Noah Syndergaard looked sharp in his brief but long-awaited return from Tommy John surgery, and the New York Mets beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 in nine innings Tuesday night for a doubleheader sweep.
Javier Báez dashed home from third base with the winning run in extra innings as Anthony Bass (3-9) fumbled James McCann’s slow bouncer between the mound and home plate.
In the opener, Francisco Lindor homered and drove in three runs to help the Mets stop a five-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory. Marcus Stroman went five innings for his 10th win.
Syndergaard started the nightcap for New York, firing his first major league pitch in two years and finally completing a delayed comeback. With his long, blond hair blowing in the breeze, he topped out at 96 mph and struck out his first two batters in a perfect inning, throwing nine of 10 pitches for strikes.
That was all for his first time out.
The 29-year-old right-hander, who can become a free agent after the season, received a couple of warm ovations from a Citi Field crowd of 20,647 dotted with Thor signs. Back in the dugout, he got hugs and pats on the chest from teammates when his short outing was over.
It was Syndergaard’s first major league game since Sept. 29, 2019. He made a pair of rehab appearances last week for Triple-A Syracuse, working a scoreless inning each time.
Trevor Williams was originally pegged to start the nightcap, but about 2 1/2 hours before the first game, the Mets activated Syndergaard from the 60-day injured list and announced he would start Game 2.
Syndergaard and the Mets initially targeted a June return, but his rehab progression was slowed by a sore elbow that caused him to be shut down in late May for a while and then a positive test for COVID-19 in late August even though he is vaccinated.
All-Star rookie Trevor Rogers pitched five terrific innings in the second game for the Marlins, permitting one run and three hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
Rogers retired his first 11 batters, fanning five straight, before Báez singled to extend the longest on-base streak of his career to 21 games.
Jonathan Villar doubled in the fifth and scored on Kevin Pillar’s single to tie it.
Brad Hand (6-7) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets.
Miami took a 1-0 lead when rookie Jesús Sánchez clobbered a 445-foot homer on Williams’ first pitch in the second.
Rogers was originally scheduled to start the opener but Miami pushed him back to the nightcap to make sure wet weather didn’t force an abbreviated outing. He pitched well again but is 0-5 in 12 starts since his last win June 10 against Colorado.
Lewin Díaz launched a two-run homer in the first game for the last-place Marlins, who have dropped seven straight.
Stroman (10-13) allowed two runs in his 33rd start this year — most in the majors — after sitting out the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He could make one more in the season finale Sunday before becoming a free agent.
“It’s extremely gratifying. I think it’s just a testament to the work I put in,” said Stroman, who also credited his personal trainer, his family and the Mets’ staff.
“I’m looking forward to free agency, however it may play out.”
The athletic right-hander won for the first time in six starts since an Aug. 22 victory at Dodger Stadium and even got his first career stolen base, the first for a Mets pitcher since Jacob deGrom in August 2017.
A smiling Stroman also had some fun with Marlins leadoff man Jazz Chisholm Jr., playfully carrying him piggyback-style after they crossed paths on a play at first base.
Seth Lugo struck out two in a 1-2-3 sixth and Edwin Díaz did the same in the seventh for his 31st save in 37 chances. New York took the opener of its 14th doubleheader this year — most by a big league team since the Mets played 19 and the Montreal Expos 15 in 1979, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Brandon Nimmo tripled on the third pitch from rookie opener Zach Thompson (2-7) and scored on Lindor’s single.
Lindor connected for his 19th homer in the sixth, a two-run shot off lefty Steven Okert.
“I think it’s important for him to finish strong,” Rojas said.
New York, eliminated from playoff contention last weekend following a second-half swoon, had dropped 10 of 11 heading into its final home series of a disappointing season.
The single-admission doubleheader, with both games scheduled for seven innings under pandemic rules, was played to make up a Sept. 1 rainout at Citi Field.
Marlins: 1B Jesús Aguilar had season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in Miami and is expected to be ready for spring training. Aguilar batted .261 with 22 homers and 93 RBIs in 131 games. He went on the injured list Sept. 8. … RHP Pablo López (strained rotator cuff) was unable to throw live batting practice because of afternoon rain so he threw about 45-50 pitches in a bullpen, simulating innings with hitters standing in. He still hopes to pitch in a big league game before the season ends. … SS Miguel Rojas (toe) sat out the opener but batted leadoff in the second game.
Mets: Rojas said deGrom won’t pitch again this season. The two-time Cy Young Award winner has been sidelined since mid-July because of an elbow injury that’s healed, according to the club. He’s been throwing bullpens recently, including a successful one Monday, with an eye toward a potential return this year. But with the Mets out of postseason contention, deGrom and the club agreed there’s no sense in him starting a game even though he’s healthy, Rojas explained.
Miami RHP Elieser Hernández (1-3, 4.24 ERA) pitches Wednesday night against Mets RHP Taijuan Walker (7-11, 4.57).
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