Syndergaard, Mets shut out Royals following ring ceremony
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard was amused when Kauffman Stadium's sound system played ''American Woman'' as he trotted out to the mound for the first inning.
The standing-room only crowd of 39,782 drowned out the music with its boos.
Syndergaard silenced the fans with six dominant innings, Neil Walker hit his first home run for the Mets and New York beat Kansas City 2-0 Tuesday after the Royals were given their 2015 World Series rings.
Syndergaard (1-0) was the only pitcher to beat Kansas City in the World Series last year. The rookie won Game 3 after intentionally firing his first pitch above Alcides Escobar's head, angering the Royals.
Escobar started this one with a triple, but then Syndergaard struck out the next three batters and retired 12 straight before Kendrys Morales' double opened the fifth.
''That's not the result I wanted, a leadoff triple, but I gained a lot of momentum after that,'' said Syndergaard, who has long, blond hair that falls way below his baseball cap. ''I just went about my game plan.''
Syndergaard allowed three hits, walked one and struck out nine.
Mets manager Terry Collins knew the right-hander would not be intimated by the surroundings.
''He's not afraid. He's 6-7, 250 pounds,'' Collins said. ''They don't have much fear, those kind of guys.''
Last fall, Syndergaard said if the Royals had a problem with his purpose pitch to Escobar they were welcome to charge the mound. There was talk Kansas City would seek retribution during the season-opening interleague series, but no trouble ensued.
Syndergaard pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, striking out Morales on three swings.
''We had the bases loaded in the sixth and he threw Morales a 95, 93 and 93 mph slider that there is not a man on this earth I believe could hit any of those pitches,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ''I even asked George (Brett), `Do you think you could even foul any of those off?' And he said, `No way.'''
The Royals went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
The Mets acquired Walker in a December trade with Pittsburgh. He homered off Chris Young (0-1) in the fourth after Yoenis Cespedes walked. That was the first hit Young allowed.
''I tried to throw a fastball away, behind in the count 1-0,'' Young said. ''He put a good swing on it and that was the difference in the game. I got outpitched.''
Young was pulled after five innings and 93 pitches, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out four.
The Mets loaded the bases in the seventh on two walks and a single, but Luke Hochevar retired Cespedes on a fly ball to Escobar to end the threat.
Jeurys Familia, who blew all three save opportunities he had in the 2015 World Series, pitched a spotless ninth for his first save this season.
Royals: RHP Greg Holland had Tommy John surgery last September and remains unsigned as a free agent, but he was back for the pregame World Series ring ceremony. He said he is throwing 60 feet in Arizona and hopes to sign with a club soon, although it is unlikely he will pitch this season. RHP Jason Frasor and OF Alex Rios, former Royals who were members of the 2015 team, were invited to the ring ceremony and both attended.
With Mets RHP Jacob deGrom's wife expecting a baby this week, he might be summoned to Florida for the birth and be unavailable to start the home opener Friday against the Phillies. Manager Terry Collins said they could start LHP Steven Matz or RHPs Matt Harvey or Bartolo Colon on Friday. Colon is penciled in for the Saturday start, while Harvey started the opener Sunday at Kansas City and would have his normal four days of rest.
METS SIGN CATCHER
The Mets signed C Rene Rivera to a minor league contract and assigned him to their Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate. Rivera, 32, has a .211 average with 20 home runs and 92 RBIs over 334 major league games with the Mariners, Padres, Twins and Rays.
Mets: As of now, deGrom is the probable starter for Friday after the club has two days off.
Royals: RHP Yordano Ventura draws an assignment Friday against the Twins.