SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Noah Syndergaard stopped worrying about his mechanics and focused on making pitches.
In doing so, the New York Mets right-hander might have solved one of the biggest issues that has plagued him most of the year.
Syndergaard pitched a two-hitter for his first career complete game, striking out 11 as the Mets beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1 on Sunday.
“It’s definitely really encouraging, a step in the right direction,” Syndergaard said. “I didn’t really have to think about it that much at all. I wasn’t really fighting myself out there. Things just started to click and I felt more fluid.”
Syndergaard (10-3) made his 81st start in the majors and topped the Giants for the second time in 12 days. He matched his season high for strikeouts, walked one and retired 20 of the final 22 batters.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Syndergaard was more relaxed than in previous starts.
“Maybe the last couple of outings he’s been worried too much about mechanics and internal things instead of just worrying about where the ball’s going,” Callaway said. “Today he went out there and the ball went wherever he wanted to, probably because he was focused a little bit more down at home plate.”
Syndergaard allowed only two runners past first base and set the side down in order five times. He yielded a one-out triple to Alen Hanson in the third and a single to Evan Longoria in the fourth.
The right-hander overcame a one-out throwing error by first baseman Jay Bruce in the seventh by striking out Austin Slater and getting Nick Hundley to ground out.
“It was amazing to watch from my point of view,” Mets catcher Tomas Nido said. “He was just trying to go out there and throw the ball, not worried about little things that can sometimes get you out of focus. He just went out there and trusted his stuff.”
Syndergaard continued a strong stretch by New York’s rotation. Over the past 15 games, Mets starters have a 1.61 ERA.
“I kind of worked backwards for the most part a little bit,” Syndergaard said. “I think their game plan was to just come out and jump on the fastball and I didn’t really allow them to do that.”
Michael Conforto hit his 20th home run, Jeff McNeil had two hits and two RBIs and Todd Frazier added a pair of hits.
The Mets won for the seventh time in their last eight games at AT&T Park.
Hanson tripled and scored for San Francisco. The Giants have lost three of four.
Limited to a total of two runs in the first two games of the series, the Mets matched that in the second. Frazier led off with a single and Conforto homered off Chris Stratton (9-8).
Hanson tripled and scored San Francisco’s lone run on Stratton’s sacrifice fly in the third.
“We’re having trouble scoring runs,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We have to find a way to score. You can’t sit on one run.”
HANSON SHINES AT SHORTSTOP
With Brandon Crawford still resting his sore left knee, Hanson made his third consecutive start at shortstop and made a handful of defensive gems. Most notably was his backhand stop of Conforto’s sharp grounder in the fourth when Hanson ran to his right and made a strong throw for the out.
“The defense behind me was unbelievable,” Stratton said. “Hanson was great.”
ODDS AND ENDS
Syndergaard’s final pitch was a 99 mph sinker. . The Giants were held to one run for the 23rd time this season and are 4-19 in those games. . Stratton drove in a run for the second time in his career. . Hunter Pence struck out as a pinch-hitter and is hitless in his last eight at-bats.
Giants: Crawford missed his third consecutive game. … OF Steven Duggar will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. … INF Kelby Tomlinson was called up from Triple-A Sacramento.
Mets: RHP Jacob DeGrom (8-8, 1.68 ERA) faces the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Monday. DeGrom leads the majors in ERA.
Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-5, 2.68 ERA) pitches against Colorado on Monday afternoon. He has allowed one run over his previous 15 innings.