There was the rarest of the rare Thursday afternoon in City Field.
A major league pitcher actually pitched a complete game. That was the New York Mets long-haired pitcher Noah Syndergaard.
And there was even something more rare. The only run of the game was produced by a pitcher hitting a home run. That was the guy they call Thor, Noah Syndergaard.
Syndergaard pitched a complete game 1-0 shutout over the Cincinnati Reds and provided himself with the only run on a leadoff home run in the third inning off Reds starter Tyler Mahle.
Syndergaard, a 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, pounced on Mahle’s first pitch like he was grabbing a Fourth of July hot dog, and hit it deep, deep, deep — over the bullpens in left center.
This came just a few hours after the Reds beat the Mets, 1-0, Wednesday night on Jose Iglesias’ ninth-inning home run.
Mahle was outstanding in his own right, giving up one run, four hits, walking none and striking out seven over five innings.
Amazingly, Syndergaard had given up four or more runs in his previous four starts, but the Reds didn’t put a runner on second base until the ninth inning.
The Reds had scored a run or runs in the ninth inning in each of the first three games of the series and made their only threat of the game in a super-charged ninth inning.
It began with Jesse Winker batting to open the ninth. Winker had enraged Mets fans during the series by waving bye-bye to them after the Reds won games one and three. And the fans were all over him the entire game Thursday.
When umpire Marty Foster called a strike on Winker to take the count to 0-2, the Reds outfielder began jawing at Foster and persisted. Foster threw him out of the game. Manager David Bell charged from the dugout and was rewarded with his third ejection of the season.
And as Winker trudged toward the dugout the fans serenaded him with, “Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah. Nah, Nah, Nah, Nad, Hey, Hey, Good-bye.”
Kyle Farmer replaced Winker for one pitch and Syndergaard struck him out. Eugenio Suarez flied to right for the second out. Derek Dietrich then singled to right and Michael Lorenzen pinch-ran for him.
While Yasiel Puig was batting, Lorenzen stole second, the first Reds runner to discover second base. But Puig struck out on three pitches, the last strike a dubious called strike, Syndergaard’s 10th strikeout. It was his 103rd pitch and was clocked at 100 mph.
The Reds’ offense? A two-out single by Dietrich in the first. A leadoff single by Jose Peraza in the second but Jose Iglesias hit into a double play. A one-out single by Eugenio Suarez in the sixth, but Dietrich hit into a double play. And Dietrich’s two-out single in the ninth.
After Mahle left, Zach Duke, Robert Stephenson and David Hernandez combined to hold the Mets scoreless on no hits over the final three innings.
The 1-0 defeat with a pitcher hitting a home run hasn’t happened since 1983 and that, too, happened to the Reds when Bob Welch of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitched a complete-game shutout and hit a home run.
The Reds have played 14 one-run games this season and are 5-9.
After splitting the four-game series in New York, the Reds return home for a brief four-game series against the San Francisco Giants. The Reds’No. 1 prospect, Nick Senzel, is expected to be called up from Class AAA Louisville for Friday night’s game.
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