The Mets offense got Noah Syndergaard off the hook after he managed to give up six runs against baseball’s fourth-worst lineup, but their gutsy response wasn’t quite enough to extend their win streak past four games. Aaron Altherr was the most impressive of the Mets’ unsung heroes in the 9-8 tug-of-war loss to the Tigers on Friday night at Citi Field.
Altherr became the 12th player in franchise history to homer in his first Mets at-bat. Two others have accomplished that feat this year, including Robinson Cano on Opening Day and Rajai Davis on Wednesday against the Nationals.
The outfielder reached the Big Apple around 7 a.m. Friday morning and didn’t waste any time getting comfortable in the city lights. Altherr’s home run gave the Mets a 6-5 lead in the sixth inning. The Mets are Altherr’s third big-league team in May and he swung for the fences in just his fourth at-bat of the month.
Syndergaard has struggled with consistency this season. In one start, he holds the Reds to a complete-game shutout and the next, he gives up four earned runs over six innings to the Padres.
Friday night was more of the latter. The right-hander was charged with six earned runs on 10 hits (two home runs), one walk and nine strikeouts over just 5.1 innings and 104 pitches. Syndergaard made the Tigers lineup look like contenders, rather than a team 14 games out of first place on a nine-game losing streak.
Wilson Ramos was the fifth Met to launch a home run on Friday night, joining Amed Rosario, Adeiny Hechavarria, Pete Alonso and Altherr. Ramos’ moonshot to left field cut the Mets’ deficit to 9-8 in the eighth, but it was all the offense could muster in its attempt for a fourth straight come-from-behind win.
On Monday, while Mickey Callaway was under siege and Brodie Van Wagenen vouched for the skipper, the Mets general manager admitted the team’s troubles are due to inconsistency. When the pitching scuffles, the offense heats up, and vice versa.
The Mets have largely relied on their strong bullpen to slam the door on opposing lineups this season. But the bullpen was worse than it could afford to be on Friday night after Syndergaard’s poor start.