(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.”
New York erupted for five runs in the seventh to put the champagne on ice.
Granderson’s run-scoring double, and an RBI hit by second baseman Daniel Murphy made the score 6-0. Granderson had four RBIs.
Duda then thrilled the large contingent of Mets fans in attendance when he launched a 3-1 pitch from left-hander Tony Cingrani an estimated 441-feet into the right field seats.
Duda’s six RBIs are a career-high. It also was his 12th career multi-home run game and sixth this season which is tied for the major-league lead.
Reds rookie right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (9-12) hung around for 6 1/3 innings but was lifted after 94 pitches and seven runs allowed, five of which were earned.
Syndergaard didn’t allow a hit over 5 1/3 innings before right fielder Brennan Boesch hit his first home run of the season with two outs in the eighth.
Cincinnati, losers of six straight and currently last in the National League Central, scored four times with two outs in the eighth.
Left fielder Adam Duvall hit his fourth homer off Mets right-hander Tim Stauffer in the ninth. By then, though, Friday’s result was a foregone conclusion.
Editing by Julian Linden