Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard won for the fourth time in his last five starts by striking out seven baters and allowing three runs and seven hits in seven innings in Sunday's 4-3 win over the Miami Marlins.
"I felt a lot better mechanically today," Syndergaard told reporters. "I worked on it a lot in between starts and today I felt really comfortable out there. I wasn't really fighting myself on the mound. I really had to dig deep in the seventh inning to get through it."
Syndergaard (8-2) won his second straight start despite allowing at least three runs for the third straight outing. He allowed one run in the first inning, one in the fourth and another in the sixth, but neither he nor the bullpen allowed the Marlins to tie the game after Michael Conforto's sixth-inning homer gave the Mets their fourth run.
The 25-year-old Syndergaard threw 69 of 101 pitches for strikes but allowed three stolen bases, as opponents have stolen 20 of 22 bases against him.
"He's such a big-body guy -- long arms, long limbs -- it's tough for him to slide-step or quick-step to home and have his arm catch up on time," manager Mickey Callaway said. "The thing he's always trying to battle is, do I want to lose stuff and try to control the running game a little bit? ... He's definitely improved. It still needs to continue to improve to get to a satisfactory level."
Syndergaard is 4-1 with a 3.56 ERA in five starts since returning from a strained finger that forced him to miss a month and a half. That time span also includes his short stint on the disabled list with hand, foot and mouth disease.
"It'll be a little easier now that he's going to be out there pitching every (turn in the rotation)," Callaway said. "When you're trying to come back, you're trying to do so many things just to stay healthy. Trying to adjust your delivery to work on something is a little tough."
After Syndergaard surrendered an RBI single to Bryan Holaday that cut the Mets' lead to 4-3, his throwing error put two runners on base for JT Riddle, who flied out to end the sixth inning. At 80 pitches, he came out for the seventh inning and struck out two of the four batters he faced, pitching around a two-out walk.