Rivera lifts Mets past Cubs in 9th
Rene Rivera singled in a go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning as the New York Mets held on to beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Tuesday.
Rivera, who went 3-for-4, laced a two-out single to right off Cubs closer Hector Rondon to score Neil Walker from second base to give the Mets their first lead of the night.
New York closer Jeurys Familia then pitched a shaky but ultimately successful ninth despite loading the bases. He was was rescued by a play at the plate prevented Addison Russell from scoring a tying run followed by a game-ending double play that snuffed out a potential walk-off rally to collect his 33rd save.
Reliever Hansel Robles (4-3) pitched the seventh and eighth innings for the win.
Rondon (1-2), the Cubs’ third pitcher of the night, worked the top of ninth and took the loss. The victory evened the series at a game apiece heading into Wednesday afternoon’s finale.
Neither Mets starter Noah Syndergaard nor Cubs counterpart Jake Arrieta figured in decisions.
Syndergaard left after working 5 2/3 innings and the game tied 1-1. He allowed one unearned run on seven hits, struck out eight and walked two and while throwing 105 pitches.
Arrieta, making his first start since July 8, pitched five scoreless innings before he allowed a run in the sixth and worked out of a jam in the seventh. With runners on first and second and two out, he struck out Alejandro De Aza to end the inning.
Arrieta allowed one run on five hits, struck out eight and walked just one.
Chicago (56-37) has dropped two of its last three games. New York (50-43) has won three of its last five.
After Chicago put two runners on base in the first and failed to score, it had the bases loaded with two out in the second after Syndergaard gave up two hits and a walk. But right fielder Kris Bryant flied out on a first pitch to end the threat.
Syndergaard struck out the first two batters he face in the third, but the Cubs got on the board after Willson Contreras reached on a standup double, leading to an opportunistic first run.
With Jason Heyward at the plate, Syndergaard threw a wild pitch past catcher Rivera as Contreras sprinted for third. He then came home with the game’s first run as Rivera’s throw to catch Contreras at third sailed into left field.
Arrieta lined a double into left-center with two out in the fourth and bolted around third on Tommy La Stella’s single. But right fielder Michael Conforto fired a perfect strike to Rivera to tag Arrieta as he crossed the plate.
But the lack of clean innings was costly, leaving Syndergaard with a 79-pitch count though four while Arrieta had tossed just 37 in the same span while retiring 12 straight batters until a fifth-inning walk to Conforto.The Mets tied the game in the top of the sixth as Jose Reyes lined a lead-off triple to the right-field corner and scored on Curtis Granderson’s sacrifice fly to center.
NOTES: New York entered Tuesday having hit 127 home runs, tied for the most in the league with Washington and tied for fourth most in the majors. The Mets were 44-19 when they hit at least one home run. … The Mets travel to Miami for a three-game series beginning on Friday and return to Citi Field on July 25 for three games against the Cardinals to kick off a nine-game home stand. … New York sends RHP Bartolo Colon (8-4, 3.11 ERA) against Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (8-6. 2.41 ERA) in Wednesday’s series finale, a daytime game set to start at 1:20 p.m. … Following a Thursday day off, the Cubs hit the road for a three-game weekend series at Milwaukee followed by a two-game inter-league set at the Chicago White Sox. … The Cubs unveiled their latest renovation plans on Tuesday, this time for a spacious underground club in back of home plate with construction beginning at the close of the 2016 season. A 2018 opening is planned.