By focusing on his secondary pitches, Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard showed how strong of a pitcher he is capable of being.
Syndergaard tied a season high of 11 strikeouts -- just four of which coming on a fastball or sinker -- and threw his first-career complete game in Sunday's 4-1 win over the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
"I kind of worked backwards for the most part," said Syndergaard, who allowed one run and two hits. "I feel their game plan was to come up and jump on the fastball."
After going 3-2 with a 4.74 ERA in six August starts, Syndergaard (10-3) reached double-digit strikeouts for the first time since April.
"I told myself at the end of August that it was a fresh clean slate and I am just worried about finishing the season strong," Syndergaard said.
Syndergaard shut down the Giants, not allowing a hit after Evan Longoria's fourth-inning single. He retired 17 of the final 18 batters he faced, and manager Mickey Callaway said he thought it was clear Syndergaard was in control.
"The last couple of outings I think maybe [Syndergaard] has been worried too much about mechanics and internal things instead of just worrying about where the ball is going," Callaway said. "Today he went out there and the ball went wherever he wanted it to, probably because he was focused a little more down at home plate."
Syndergaard hadn't thrown at least six innings and given up one or fewer runs in a game since May 20. But Sunday's game, Callaway said, was important for Syndergaard.
"He needed it for a lot of reasons," Callaway said. "One, to understand that he's still working on things, but the time to work on things is in between starts, not when you're out there competing."