Murphy HRs again; Mets beat Arrieta, Cubs for 2-0 NLCS lead
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 19, 2015 12:30 PM
RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Daniel Murphy hit his fifth playoff homer and rookie Noah Syndergaard outpitched Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, sending the New York Mets to a 4-1 victory and a 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series.
Arrieta, baseball's most dominant pitcher since the All-Star break, had not even settled in when Murphy homered for the fourth straight game, a two-run drive just inside the right-field pole in a three-run first inning.
Given the quick lead on a chilly night, Syndergaard kept the bats of Chicago's young sluggers on ice with shutout ball into the sixth inning.
Curtis Granderson robbed Chris Coghlan of a likely home run with a leaping grab at the center-field wall, swiped a pair of bases and scored two runs for the Mets.
After beating Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester and Arrieta, the Mets are two wins from reaching their first World Series since 2000.
New York starts NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom when the series resumes Tuesday at Wrigley Field.
Chicago goes with Kyle Hendricks, part of the less-than-imposing back end of its rotation. If the long-downtrodden Cubs are to reach the World Series for the first time since 1945, they must first force the best-of-seven NLCS back to Citi Field next weekend.
After homering off Kershaw, Greinke and Lester, Murphy added his fifth home run of the postseason, giving him eight RBIs in seven games.
Long, blond locks flowing out the back of his cap, Syndergaard seems to be taking on a bit of the cockiness of Game 1 winner Matt Harvey. He gained the nickname Thor — the Norse god known for his fierce storms — after he tweeted a photo of himself in costume doing squats on Halloween two years ago.
After the Mets beat the Dodgers in the Division Series, the rookie tweeted, "Our enemy has been vanquished.......Odin is pleased" — a reference to Thor's father.
And ahead of his start against the Cubs, Syndergaard changed the photo atop his Twitter page to a shot featuring lightning striking Chicago's famous Willis Tower.
Having made the first relief appearance of his big league career in Game 5 against the Dodgers, Syndergaard came out throwing 99 mph darts until the the sixth, when Dexter Fowler singled and scored on Kris Byrant's two-out double off the left-field wall.
Jon Niese came in and struck out Anthony Rizzo, squelching Chicago's comeback hopes.
Syndergaard allowed three hits, struck out nine and walked one. Jeurys Familia's fourth postseason save finished a five-pitcher five-hitter and sent the Cubs to consecutive losses for the first time since they dropped three in a row from Sept. 23-26.
Chicago skipped batting practice because of the hot weather, but Arrieta took the mound in short sleeves. He had not given up a first-inning run in 25 consecutive starts since May 29. With his velocity down slightly, he found himself trailing after nine pitches and down 3-0 after 13.