Noah Syndergaard again wobbled with Wilson Ramos as his catcher while Clayton Kershaw was right in the pocket, sending the Los Angeles Dodgers over the New York Mets 9-2 Friday night.
Kershaw (14-5) stopped a rare three-start skid and improved to 10-0 in regular-season play against the Mets. Rookies Gavin Lux and Edwin Ríos homered as the NL West champion Dodgers won their ninth in a row at Citi Field dating to 2016.
Coming off a four-game sweep of Arizona, Syndergaard and the Mets fell flat. They dropped three games behind Chicago for the second NL wild-card spot. Milwaukee and Philadelphia also are ahead of New York, which was eliminated from contention in the NL East.
Earlier in the week, it was revealed Syndergaard (10-8) recently went to his bosses, expressing his wishes to pitch to someone other than Ramos. Known more his hitting than defense, Ramos got this start — manager Mickey Callaway wanted Ramos' bat in the lineup, trusting Syndergaard's "mentality" and adding, "I have faith in Noah he's going to pitch a good game no matter who's catching him."
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It worked, at least for three innings. But in the fourth, a walk to Cody Bellinger and singles by Corey Seager and A.J. Pollock produced one run, then Lux homered to dead center.
Ramos swiped at a towel on the bench when the inning ended. Syndergaard was pulled after five innings and 102 pitches, allowing four runs on five hits and two walks.
Syndergaard's shaky outing left him with a 5.20 ERA in 16 starts with Ramos catching. The big right-hander has a 2.22 ERA in 11 starts throwing to backups Tomás Nido and René Rivera.
Syndergaard, by the way, did get to throw to Nido and Rivera, too — they took turns warming him up when Ramos was stranded on the bases and needed extra time to put on his gear. Nido later entered to catch the ninth inning.
Kershaw avoided the first four-game losing streak of his decorated career. He gave up a first-inning homer to J.D. Davis and threw a season-high 105 pitches.
The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner left after a four-pitch walk to pinch-hitter Pete Alonso loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. His only loss to the Mets came in the 2015 NL Division Series, when he went 1-1.
Pinch-hitter Chris Taylor delivered a two-run double and scored on Cody Bellinger's single in the seventh. Ríos homered in the eighth.
Dodgers: 1B Max Muncy went 0 for 3 with two walks in his first game since Aug. 28. He'd been on the injured list with a fractured right wrist. ... LHP Rich Hill will have an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the knee problem that forced him to exit in the first inning of Thursday night's start at Baltimore. It was his first game in the majors after missing 12 weeks with a strained left forearm. "Really frustrating," Hill said. Manager Dave Roberts said it was too early to know how this setback would affect Hill's status for the playoffs. "There's nothing that says you have to name a fourth starter in the middle of September," he said. Roberts said he wouldn't be adverse to bunching some relievers to pitch a postseason game. ... 3B Justin Turner (ankle sprain) could return to the starting lineup Tuesday, Roberts said.
Mets: Alonso didn't start for the first time since Aug. 4. The rookie first baseman who leads the majors with 47 home runs has missed only one game this season. Callaway said he felt Alonso needed a day off after watching him struggle at the plate Thursday. Callaway said he anticipates Alonso starting the rest of the way.
Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-5, 2.45 ERA) is 4-1 with a 1.38 ERA in seven career starts against the Mets.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (9-8, 2.70 ERA) is 0-4 with a 3.23 ERA in nine career starts vs. the Dodgers.