Between the second and third innings, Syndergaard and catcher Rene Rivera combined to cut down three potential basestealers, including Scott Schebler, who opted not to slide into second base after he thought the pitch had been fouled off, and Jose Peraza, who was caught stealing home after Eugenio Suarez broke too soon from first and caused a rundown. This from a starter who had seen just six of 51 attempted basestealers against him thrown out this season.
"Rene really got me out of some jams there, so I'm really thankful for that," Syndergaard said. "It was definitely a weird circumstance, but I was able to get out of it."
"Geno breaking early on a straight steal of second base, getting picked off … it was a good opportunity for us to score, because the third baseman was so far off the line," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "If they throw through, it's easy for Peraza to score. Instead, we end up running into an out at the plate. It was just bad baseball."
Those plays kind of summed up the day for Syndergaard. It wasn't always pretty and he got a little bit of help, but he managed five scoreless innings and earned the win as the Mets went on to sweep the Reds.
"Obviously, [it] wasn't like what we've been seeing," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I don't know if it was the weather, but command was not there today of pretty much any of his pitches."
Syndergaard allowed at least one baserunner in every inning and he stranded seven men on base. He was coming off of a three-start stretch in which he pitched at least seven innings and allowed a combined seven hits over 22 innings.
Syndergaard nearly matched that total on Wednesday alone, allowing six hits to go along with a season-high four walks. But he also had seven strikeouts, four of which came in big moments.
After a runner reached third in the first inning with one out, Syndergaard fanned Joey Votto and Adam Duvall to escape unharmed. In the fourth, two men got on with one out, but the big righty again struck out two to get out of the jam.
So, even though Syndergaard wasn't his sharpest, he was able to learn something by getting himself out of trouble.
"As I told him when I took him out, I knew he was out of gas and I just said, 'I know you're frustrated because you've got to work some nights, but that's how you get better here. The nights you don't have your good stuff, you can look back and say I know how to get through this,'" Collins said. "Use all my pitches, I've got to make pitches, I can't hurry, all the things that you can learn from a day you don't have your good stuff."
Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.