Mets fans had waited a long time for Friday night. The last World Series game in Queens was 15 years and one ballpark ago, and in Game 3 against the Royals, those fans had plenty to cheer about as Citi Field saw its first Fall Classic action. In a virtual must-win game, the Mets pounded Kansas City behind a big night from captain David Wright, and got back into the series with a 9-3 victory.
Things heated up immediately: Syndergaard’s first pitch of the night came in high and tight on Alcides Escobar, and in the Royals dugout, Mike Moustakas had some words for the Mets starter. In case you’re the world’s worst lip-reader, this Instagram user has helpfully captioned the clip:
Kansas City would open the scoring in the first, but Wright, the career Met, literally made the stadium shake with a homer in his first home World Series at-bat, giving the Mets a 2-1 lead.
Mets fans couldn’t exactly relax, though: The Royals answered right back in the top of the second, scoring two runs on three singles, a sacrifice, and a passed ball. So much was made in the last 48 hours about how best to attack the Royals’ contact hitters, but in the second inning of Game 3, the Royals had Syndergaard on the ropes, while Terry Collins had a reliever warming in case things kept getting worse. This is what the relentless Royals lineup does; it’s death by a thousand cuts.
But Syndergaard escaped the inning without getting the hook from Collins, and then he settled down nicely, at least for a while: He retired 12 straight batters before getting into trouble in the sixth inning, and then worked out of a jam in that inning, too, after Collins gambled and let him pitch to Alex Rios with two out and the bases loaded.
Meanwhile, the Royals’ shaky rotation finally hurt them: After Kansas City took their 3-2 lead in the second, Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer in the third that just barely cleared the fence in right to give the Mets a 4-3 lead. An inning later, they chased Yordano Ventura with another run. The Mets would later break the game open against the Kansas City bullpen with a wild four-run sixth inning that included the most awkward fielder’s choice you’ll ever see. (This seems like a good place to note that this has been a pretty sloppy series on both sides.)
David Wright drove in two of the runs in that sixth inning, giving him four RBI on a night he’s waited an awful long time for. And the Mets bullpen closed out the game with three scoreless innings — including one by closer Jeurys Familia, who got the final three outs despite a six-run lead. Even with games scheduled for three consecutive night in New York, Collins wasn’t messing around in the ninth on Friday.
And so with the series now 2-1 in favor of Kansas City, the Mets now turn to rookie Steven Matz, the Long Island kid who will literally commute to Game 4 from his childhood home. He’ll go up against Chris Young, the 6-foot-10 righty who was brilliant in relief in an epic Game 1, but has made just one start so far in this postseason.