NEW YORK (AP) — Noah Syndergaard pitched his first major league shutout and the New York Mets wrapped up a disappointing season Sunday with their second consecutive 1-0 victory over the Miami Marlins.
Todd Frazier hit an RBI double for the Mets, who finished fourth in the NL East at 77-85 under rookie manager Mickey Callaway – a seven-win improvement over last year. After beginning the season with playoff aspirations, they jumped out to an 11-1 start before going 5-21 in June as injuries once again took a heavy toll.
New York rebounded a bit to win 33 of its last 55 games, but it was way too late by then.
Promising rookie Sandy Alcantara (2-3) struck out a career-high 10 over seven innings in his sixth major league start for the Marlins. After trading Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon in an offseason payroll purge, Miami ended up with the worst record in the National League at 63-98 in Derek Jeter’s first year as chief executive officer. The Marlins were scoreless over their final 24 innings.
Looking to have some fun at the finish line, manager Don Mattingly appointed All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to pilot the team Sunday. Jeter indicated this month that Mattingly will be back next year.
Syndergaard (13-4) allowed five hits and fanned six in a fast finale that took just 2 hours, 10 minutes. He walked none and threw 101 pitches for his second career complete game. The other one came on Sept. 2 in San Francisco, and the big right-hander completed the season by tossing a career-best 15 straight scoreless innings.
Syndergaard’s complete-game shutout was only the 19th in the majors this year, fewest in a season since 1874, when there were only eight teams. There were 27 such outings last season.
Alcantara struck out five straight before Jeff McNeil opened the fourth with a single for New York’s first hit. McNeil scored from first when left fielder Isaac Galloway misplayed Frazier’s hard-hit double.
One day after David Wright‘s emotional goodbye at Citi Field, the Mets gave Jose Reyes another ceremonial start at shortstop. The 35-year-old Reyes, who batted .189 in a bench role this season, was lifted after grounding out leading off the bottom of the first.
He hugged teammates in the dugout and received a warm ovation while coming out for a curtain call for the crowd of 28,346.
”I just thought he deserved to be on the field one more time,” Callaway said.
HOW’D THAT HAPPEN?
Syndergaard’s bat broke off just above his hands as he started to swing – and obviously miss – at a third-inning pitch. Teammates cracked up in the dugout as Syndergaard stood dumbfounded in the batter’s box. After getting some new lumber, the pitcher struck out but then lashed a sharp single in the fifth.
NEW KID IN TOWN
McNeil had two hits to give him 36 in September, breaking the club record for rookies set by Gregg Jefferies in 1989.
Mets: LF Yoenis Cespedes is scheduled for his second heel surgery Oct. 23 – this time on his left foot – but said he can’t yet predict how much he’ll be able to play next season. The oft-injured slugger had surgery Aug. 2 to remove bone calcification in his right heel, the first of two operations expected to sideline him for eight to 10 months.
Marlins: Pitchers and catchers report to spring training Feb. 13, and Miami opens the 2019 season March 28 against Colorado.
Mets: Begin next season at NL East rival Washington.
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