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plate in Sunday's
NEW YORK (AP) — Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets ended this disappointing season the same way they want to start the next one.Powered by dominant pitching.Syndergaard threw his first major league shutout and the Mets wrapped up a frustrating 2018 campaign Sunday with their second consecutive 1-0 victory over the Miami Marlins.“I told the bullpen before the game that they could take the day off. True story Andrew McCutchen Jersey ,” Syndergaard said. “It’s a great feeling.”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 by then it was way too late.“I feel like we played some really good baseball,” Syndergaard said.Promising rookie Sandy Alcantara (2-3) struck out a career-high 10 over seven innings in his sixth major league start for the Marlins — three against the Mets.“I thought he was more aggressive,” manager Don Mattingly said. “There’s nothing monumental that happened today other than this guy has a chance to be a really good pitcher, and consistency is going to be the key.”After trading Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon during an offseason payroll purge, the Marlins ended up with the worst record in the National League at 63-98 in Derek Jeter’s first year as chief executive officer. Miami went scoreless over the final 24 innings.“Last two days, kind of indicative. We go (22) innings and only give up two runs and we don’t win either game,” Mattingly said.Jeter signaled this month that Mattingly is expected back next year. Looking to have some fun at the finish line, he appointed All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to pilot the team Sunday.“It was fun. I enjoyed it , for sure,” Realmuto said. “It was actually a fairly easy game to manage because Sandy did a great job, obviously, so there weren’t many moves on our part.”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 while pitching with a sinus infection.“He kind of pitched at 90 percent, 95 percent. It’s pretty good when you throw 95 (mph) at 95 percent,” Callaway said. “But I think he learned a little bit of a lesson that sometimes a tad less is more.”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.LAST HURRAHA 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.Reyes Gregor Blanco Jersey , a four-time All-Star, doesn’t expect to be back with the Mets next season and isn’t sure about his major league future.Wright didn’t play but was given a few more ovations.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.“Maybe termites or something,” the pitcher said with a smile.Teammates cracked up in the dugout as Syndergaard stood dumbfounded in the batter’s box.“It was like the most Thor thing I can think of,” outfielder Michael Conforto said.After getting some new lumber, Syndergaard struck out but then lashed a sharp single in the fifth.NEW KID IN TOWNMcNeil had two hits to give him 36 in September, breaking the club record for rookies set by Gregg Jefferies in 1989.LOST ARTSyndergaard’s complete-game shutout was only the 19th in the majors this year, fewest in a season since 1874, when there were just eight teams. There were 27 such outings last season.The previous Mets pitcher with a complete-game shutout was Jacob deGrom on July 17, 2016.Syndergaard won his seventh straight decision at home and improved to 6-0 with a 1.64 ERA and 60 strikeouts against six walks in eight career starts against the Marlins.TRAINER’S ROOMMets: 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.UP NEXTMarlins: 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. The American League Championship Series is now a best-of-five ordeal.The Boston Red Sox evened their battle with the Houston Astros at a game apiece with a 7-5 victory in Sunday's Game 2 at Fenway Park. It was the first loss of the postseason for the defending champions.Jackie Bradley Jr. gave Boston the lead for good with a bases-clearing double in the third inning, Mookie Betts provided insurance by scoring in the seventh and driving in a run in the eighth, and the bullpen allowed one run in 4.1 innings to preserve the win. David Price's Postseason Struggles Loom Over Red SoxPrice was the storyline entering the contest , and he did nothing to change the narrative by allowing four earned runs, five hits and four walks in 4.2 innings. His numbers would have been worse if Matt Barnes didn't strand both inherited runners in the fifth.The southpaw is a five-time All-Star who won the 2012 American League Cy Young, but his postseason struggles are an inescapable chapter of his story. He sported a 3.25 career regular-season ERA and 5.28 career postseason ERA before Sunday's poor showing, which took on a here-we-go-again feel when he walked two in the first inning.Sarah Langs SlangsOnSportsDavid Price has allowed multiple runs in 11 straight postseason starts (thats all of his postseason starts), tying Roger Clemens for the longest such streak in postseason history.Its also already the longest such streak to start a pitchers postseason career.Unindicted Co-conspirator russbengtsonHow is David Price still allowed to wear Jordans in the postseason? Hes 0-9 in 10 starts! Hes basically the Antijordan at this point.Jerry Crasnick jcrasnickDavid Price might change the narrative one of these days. But it won鈥檛 be tonight.MLB MLBMarwin WAY over the monster. #ALCS rnHMPJU913George Springer (two-run double) and Marwin Gonzalez (two-run homer) brought the inevitable damage in the second and third, respectively, which was more of the same after Price allowed three earned runs, three hits, two home runs and two walks in just 1.2 innings of Boston's only loss in the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees.Boston is in the middle of a competitive window, and these playoff issues are going to loom beyond just this season. He won't become an unrestricted free agent until 2023 if he exercises his player option, and he figures to do just that since he is due north of $30 million in each of the next four years.As for the current World Series chase, Price's lackluster outings put additional pressure on the bullpen, Rick Porcello鈥攚ho had a 4.75 career playoff ERA before he pitched in relief Sunday鈥攁nd Nathan Eovaldi鈥攚ho has one playoff start on his resume. Even Chris Sale is a question mark after Boston announced its ace was admitted to the hospital for evaluation because of a stomach illness.The Red Sox will be in dire straights if one or more members of the starting rotation struggle and create a situation in which Price takes the hill in a must-win game. Cole's Poor Outing Ramps Up the Pressure on Keuchel Duane Kuiper Jersey , MortonJustin Verlander is a headline-maker for the Astros, but Gerrit Cole formed a dominant one-two punch after coming over from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the offseason. He finished the 2018 campaign with a 2.88 ERA and career-best marks of a 1.03 WHIP and 276 strikeouts and continued his success by allowing just one earned run with 12 strikeouts in seven innings in the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians.However, he wasn't the same force Sunday and allowed five runs (four earned), six hits and two walks while striking out five in six innings. He hurt himself with a throwing error before Rafael Devers' RBI single in the first inning made it 2-0, but Bradley's hit in the third was the dagger.MLB MLBJBJ! The RedSox strike back. #ALCS 80ned6VT7cZachary quot;Doomquot; Rymer zachrymerRed Sox have as many hits through one inning of Game 2 as they did through nine innings in Game 1.The lackluster showing changed the formula for the Astros against the best offense in all of baseball. Houston was in a position where Verlander and Cole could have clinched a spot in the World Series by winning all four of their combined starts, but Dallas Keuchel or Charlie Morton will need to deliver to keep the chances of a back-to-back title alive.That won't be an easy task considering the Red Sox led all of baseball in runs (876), hits (1,509), doubles (355), batting average (.268), on-base percentage (.339) and slugging percentage (.453) and have momentum after beating Cole.Keuchel may not be on the level of Verlander or Cole this year, but he won the 2015 AL Cy Young and beat the Red Sox in last year's ALDS. He also earned a win over the Indians in this year's ALDS, allowing two earned runs in five innings , and has a 3.28 ERA in nine playoff appearances.He is also well-positioned as a left-hander to neutralize Devers, Andrew Benintendi and Bradley, who all tallied RBI from the left side of the plate in Sunday's win.As for Morton, his next playoff appearance will be his first this year, but he made four postseason starts during last year's World Series run and finished with a career-best 3.13 ERA during the 2018 season.Keuchel and Morton will be tasked with facing a Boston offense that is daunting beyond just the MVP candidates in Betts and J.D. Martinez. The contributions of Devers, Benintendi and Bradley underscore how dangerous the Red Sox are throughout a lineup that will continue to put pressure on the Houston starters.Someone besides Verlander and Cole will need to be cool under that pressure to clinch another American League championship.What's Next?The series shifts to Houston for Tuesday's Game 3, where an Astros team that was 46-35 at home and 57-24 on the road during the regular season will try to capitalize on home-field advantage.

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