NEW YORK -- Just a little offense makes the Mets' young pitching look that much better.
Not that Noah Syndergaard needed much Friday. The righty struck out a career-high 13 batters over eight innings to lead New York to a 4-2 win over Arizona at Citi Field. But for the first time in a long time, the Mets received not just one, but two punches of power, both from veterans who had been mired in extended slumps.
When Lucas Duda put New York ahead with a three-run homer in the first, it was his first long ball since June 18. When Michael Cuddyer followed with a solo shot to left, it accounted for the outfielder's first big fly since June 5. That was more than enough offense for Syndergaard, who improved to 4-4 in his young career. Syndergaard allowed the Snakes just four hits and ended with a career-high 116 pitches after fanning nine of his last 15 batters.
"He was throwing whatever pitch he wanted in any count," D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb said of Syndergaard. "That was the tough part. He would be behind in counts and he would throw that slider or that two-seamer, that changeup, and it was tough to get in a rhythm off him. Especially when a guy is throwing that hard. You've got to hit off the fastball. You can't be looking for offspeed."
Syndergaard's longest and most dominating Major League outing allowed him to easily outlast Chase Anderson, who allowed eight hits over just 4 1/3 innings. Anderson's night took an almost scary turn in the fourth, when Juan Lagares lined a comebacker off his ankle. After a short delay, Anderson remained in the game to strike out Curtis Granderson and end a threat. He was removed in the next inning for Andrew Chafin, who started a line of four Arizona relievers to post scoreless outings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Back-to-back jacks: Until very recently, the Mets went a stretch of nine games without hitting a home run. If you're looking for the back-to-back variety, New York hadn't done that in almost two months. Whether Friday's first-inning mini-explosion will prove predictive of a wider breakout remains to be seen. But it has to be encouraging for Cuddyer, especially, who was held out of the lineup for six of the last eight games and entered Friday in a 4-for-40 slump.
"He certainly knows what he's doing at the plate," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Cuddyer. "I don't think the knee was causing him [to struggle]. Maybe he had a tough time hitting against it. At the same time, if he knows he can't hurt it any more it may relax him a bit more."
Another rough beginning for Chase: The first inning has been a problem for Anderson in his last two starts. Last time out against the Rockies, he allowed three runs in the first before settling in and tossing five shutout innings after that. Friday, though, he dug too deep a hole against Syndergaard by giving up four in the first.
"I feel like once I get past the first inning everything's pretty good from there," Anderson said. More >
Synergizing Citi Field: When the rookie righty has been good, he's been dazzling. That's been especially true at Citi Field, where Syndergaard improved to 4-1 with a 1.74 ERA in six starts. That's compared to a 0-3 record and 5.33 ERA on the road. On Friday, Syndergaard held Arizona to two hits over his final seven innings while retiring 13 of his last 15 batters. As is the case during most of his home starts since Syndergaard's electric Citi Field debut May 17, most of the 28,243 fans present waited to leave until he did. When Syndergaard walked off, it was to thunderous applause.
"I didn't even know that [was his career high]. That's great information. I really needed to hear it." -- Collins, when asked about letting Syndergaard throw a career-high 116 pitches
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The last time New York hit back-to-back home runs was May 14 against the Cubs when Wilmer Flores and Anthony Recker accomplished the feat.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW Yasmany Tomas led off the ninth by driving a ball to the corner in right and attempted to turn it into a triple. Third-base umpire Bill Welke called Tomas out on a close play and the D-backs challenged the call, which was overturned.
WHAT'S NEXT D-backs:Patrick Corbin (1-0, 3.60 ERA) will make his second start since coming back from Tommy John surgery, getting the nod against the Mets on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. MST. The left-hander was impressive in his debut, allowing a pair of runs over five innings last Saturday against the Rockies.
Mets:Matt Harvey will take the hill in Saturday's 4:10 ET game. Harvey is 2-1 with a 3.44 ERA in his career vs. the D-backs, against whom he made his Major League debut in 2012. The righty is just 1-2 in his last four starts despite a 1.46 ERA over that span.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.