Indians fall to Mets
CLEVELAND (AP) — Steven Matz made his first regular-season loss seem like a distant memory.
Matz struck out a career-high nine and allowed three hits over seven innings, bouncing back from a terrible opening start and leading the New York Mets over the Cleveland Indians 6-0 Sunday.
“He showed what he can do when he commands his pitches,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He was outstanding.”
Given a six-run, second-inning lead, Matz (1-1) retired the side in order three times and allowed two runners in the same inning once. He threw 94 pitches and walked two.
In his opening-start, the 24-year-old left-hander allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings against Miami last Monday. He was 4-0 after his callup last June.
“You’ve got to flush it,” he said of his start against the Marlins. “It was just a loss in my book. I tried to go out there and attack these guys today.”
Corey Kluber (0-3) gave up six runs and nine hits in six innings, struck out eight and walked one. He is 9-19 since winning the 2014 AL Cy Young Award.
New York scored three runs in the first and three more in the second. The Mets were helped in the second when center fielder Rajai Davis lost two fly balls in the sun and Kluber made a throwing error.
“I had trouble with the sun, just have to make my adjustments and catch it next time,” Davis said.
Michael Conforto and Lucas Duda both drove in two runs. New York managed only 20 runs in its first eight games, but scored 17 in winning twice in the three-game series.
“It’s been a few good days,” said Conforto, who was 5 for 12 in the series after being moved to third in the batting order. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”
Matz admitted the early support made his job easier.
“It was nice getting those runs,” he said. “I could just go out and relax and pitch.”
New York began Sunday trailing Washington by five games in the NL East, a larger deficit than the Mets faced at any point last season, then closed within four when the Nationals wasted a 10th-inning lead in a loss at Philadelphia.
Conforto had RBI doubles in the first and second, and Duda capped the first with a two-run single.
Despite wearing sunglasses, Davis allowed Curtis Granderson’s two-out fly to drop about 5 feet from him into the warning track.
Kluber fielded Asdrubal Cabrera’s bunt toward the third-base line and threw wildly to first. Cabrera was given an RBI and took second on the error.
Conforto’s ground ball hit first base and bounced past Mike Napoli, allowing Cabrera to score. Cespedes lofted a fly ball to medium depth in center that fell several feet from Davis as Conforto scored.
Davis wasn’t the only Indians player to have problems. Catcher Yan Gomes lost Cespedes’ foul pop in the first, which was originally called an error but changed to a no play. Cespedes then struck out.
Four New York pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts.
Mets third baseman David Wright, who hasn’t driven in a run in 33 at-bats and 42 plate appearances this season, was given the day off.
Mets: C Travis d’Arnaud (bruised left elbow) was out of the lineup after being hit by a pitch Saturday. It’s unlikely he’ll play Monday in Philadelphia. Kevin Plawecki started behind the plate and had two hits.
Indians: OF Lonnie Chisenhall (sore left wrist) is expected to return Wednesday. He’s scheduled to play the next two days at Double-A Akron. Chisenhall was placed on the 15-day disabled list March 28.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (1-0) starts the opener of a three-game series Monday in Philadelphia against RHP Jerad Eickhoff (1-1).
Indians: Cleveland opens a three-game series at home with Seattle on Tuesday. RHP Carlos Carrasco (1-0) faces LHP Wade Miley (0-1).