Wilmer Flores hit a game-winning home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the New York Mets beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 on Sunday to improve the best start in team history to 12-2.
Noah Syndergaard struck out eight batters in a row, two shy of Tom Seaver’s major league record, and Brandon Nimmo finished a double shy of the cycle. Nimmo connected for a tying home run against Taylor Williams leading off the sixth on a cold, blustery afternoon at Citi Field.
“We’re all ready to get out of here,” a smiling Flores said during a postgame interview on the field, just before getting doused by a teammate.
Flores broke a 2-all tie with a drive over the left-center wall against Matt Albers (2-1) for his second home run this year. New York has opened a season with five straight series wins for the first time.
Jeurys Familia (1-0) worked around a walk in a hitless ninth.
Syndergaard’s long, blond hair was flapping in the wind on a day when attendance appeared to be less than half the announced crowd of 26,036. It was 42 degrees at game time on Jackie Robinson Day, when all players wore Robinson’s No. 42.
Syndergaard allowed an unearned run and two hits in 5 1/3 innings, with 11 strikeouts and one walk.
Mets rookie manager Mickey Callaway faced second-guessing after Jay Bruce pinch hit for rookie catcher Tomas Nido and was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Syndergaard followed with an infield popup on the first pitch. Syndergaard had allowed one hit through five scoreless innings but had thrown 90 pitches.
Jesus Aguilar singled with one out in the sixth, and Robert Gsellman relieved. Milwaukee loaded when bases when third baseman Todd Frazier allowed Domingo Santana’s two-out grounder to roll under his glove for infield hit, and took a 2-1 lead when shortstop Amed Rosario bounced a throw for a two-run error after making a sliding stop on Hernan Perez’s grounder. Gsellman struck out Oswaldo Arcia, who slammed his bat.
Left-hander Jerry Blevins got Travis Shaw to hit an inning-ending grounder that left the bases loaded in the seventh.
Another player got hurt on the banged-up Brewers. Eric Thames winced after taking a 2-2 pitch in the first inning and limped back to the dugout. The first baseman was removed in the middle of the third after striking out twice, and the Brewers said he strained a left adductor muscle. Milwaukee’s starting lineup already was minus catcher Manny Pina and outfielders Ryan Braun and Christian Yelich.
Many players wore balaclavas, but Milwaukee second baseman Jonathan Villar made the odd decision to wear one while playing in short sleeves but with a sweat shirt under his jersey that had a pouch to keep his hands warm.
Frazier hit an RBI single in the first but the Mets stranded 11 runners in the first five innings and led only 1-0.
Syndergaard was working on a no-hit bid and had struck out eight in a row before Perez singled to left on a 1-2 pitch leading off the fifth. Perez advanced on a groundout and stole third, and Jett Bandy took a called third strike on a pitch that appeared to be low. Bandy barked at plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt, and manager Craig Counsell came out to protect his only healthy catcher, leading to an ejection.
Braun was on deck to pinch hit, a day after leaving in the fifth inning with back tightness, but pitcher Jhoulys Chacin batted and hit a grounder to deep shortstop. Rosario snagged the ball with a dive onto the outfield grass and barely threw out the slow-running pitcher at first.
Braun pinch hit with none on and two outs in the seventh and flied out.
Chacin gave up one run and five hits in four innings.
Perez faked throwing the ball to fans after Jose Reyes’ inning-ending flyout to left in the third and flipped the ball to Arcia, who also faked a toss into the stands. They were booed.
Brewers: Pina missed his fourth consecutive game with right calf tightness but might play Monday. … Yelich (right oblique) needs to have consecutive days of good workouts before he is activated from the disabled list, Counsell said.
Mets: 1B Dominic Smith (right quadriceps) was recalled from his injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas, reinstated from 10-day DL and optioned to Las Vegas.
Brewers: RHP Brent Suter (1-1) is scheduled to pitch Monday against visiting Cincinnati and RHP Luis Castillo (0-2).
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (2-0, 3.06 ERA) starts Monday’s series opener against Washington, which might put RHP Jeremy Hellickson on the roster for his season debut.