Mets close in on divisional title

Sat Sep 26, 2015 4:01am EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - The National League East division title is so close, the New York Mets can just about taste the champagne.

Lucas Duda hit a pair of three-run homers, and rookie Noah Syndergaard tossed seven shutout innings helping New York reduce its magic number to one with a 12-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night at Great American Ball Park.

"When I first picked up a baseball when I was seven years old, (I) never thought that I'd be here at 23 pitching for the New York Mets in a postseason race," Syndergaard said.

"I'm extremely blessed to be here. It's an unbelievable feeling."

Right fielder Curtis Granderson added a three-run homer off J.J. Hoover putting the Mets (87-67) in position to clinch their first NL East title since 2006 on Saturday afternoon with a victory over the Reds or a Washington Nationals loss.

"It's a very exciting time," Duda said. "Hopefully we can handle our business the next couple days and see where we're at."

Syndergaard (9-7) was sharp throughout Friday's outing, allowing two runs on five hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks. He retired 16 straight in one stretch.

After some early struggles on the road, Syndergaard has posted a 2.34 ERA in his past three starts away from Citi Field.

"Tonight was the best start he's had," manager Terry Collins said. "To go through that lineup the way he did was impressive. This kid's really gotten better. He's going to pitch for us. I don't care where."   Continued...

Sep 25, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA;New York Mets relief pitcher Tim Stauffer throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth inning at Great American Ball Park. The Mets won 12-5. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports