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Syracuse’s three-game winning streak ends with 7-5 loss to Lehigh Valley on Friday 

Mark Vientos homered for the third straight game with a two-run homer on Friday night. (Herm Card)
July 1, 2022

Syracuse, NY–The Syracuse Mets fell for the first time this series, dropping a 7-5 decision to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on a humid, early July night at NBT Bank Stadium. The Mets are still in the driver’s seat in terms of winning the six-game series, as they won the first

Syracuse, NY**–**The Syracuse Mets fell for the first time this series, dropping a 7-5 decision to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on a humid, early July night at NBT Bank Stadium. The Mets are still in the driver’s seat in terms of winning the six-game series, as they won the first three games against the IronPigs this week.

Lehigh Valley (41-35) once again opened the scoring, plating two runs in the top of the second inning. Donny Sands singled leading off the inning, moved up to second when Josh Ockimey reached on an error, and scored on an RBI double from Jorge Bonifacio. That made the game 1-0, and the IronPigs were certainly primed to score a bushfull of more runs. Rafael Marchan, the next batter, was plunked by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. However, the Mets found a way to limit the damage, inducing a groundball double play and a pop out to only allow one further run to score. Still, it was 2-0 Lehigh Valley in front after the second inning.

In the third, a familiar face did damage again for Syracuse (31-44). Mark Vientos came to the plate with Khalil Lee on first base and two outs and promptly brought him home, slugging a two-run homer beyond the fence in right-center field to tie the game up, 2-2. Vientos has now homered in three consecutive games and hit 13 home runs in 35 games since May 2nd.

In the fourth, both teams would score again. The IronPigs scored once when Bonifacio doubled, Marchan singled to move him to third, and Daniel Robertson lofted a fly ball deep enough to left field for a sacrifice fly out to score Bonifacio and make it 3-2 Lehigh Valley.

That lead would not last as the Mets scored three times in the bottom half of the fourth to roar out to a 5-3 lead. First, Patrick Mazeika singled leading off the frame, moved to second on a groundout, and scored on a Nick Dini single that briefly knotted the game up, 3-3. Then, Gosuke Katoh launched a no-doubt blast high over the right-field fence, plating Dini and making it 5-3 Syracuse in a flash. It was the first home run of the season for Katoh in 16 games with the Syracuse Mets.

Syracuse starting pitcher Tim Adleman kept it at a 5-3 advantage for the Mets throughout his five-inning start, finishing his outing with a 1-2-3 top of the fifth inning. The right-hander allowed just one earned run in his five innings of work on six hits, while striking out two without walking any batters.

In the sixth inning, the game began to turn in the IronPigs favor. After consecutive strikeouts to start the inning, the game literally changed on consecutive pitches. Bonifacio and Marchan smacked solo home runs on back-to-back offerings from Yoan López to make it a 5-5 game. Bonifacio was the shining star at the plate for Lehigh Valley on Friday night, finishing the game 3-for-3 with two doubles, a home run, a walk, a stolen base, a run scored, and two RBIs.

The IronPigs took the lead for good in the seventh with some creative play. Lehigh Valley got a one-out double from Dalton Guthrie and a bloop single from Will Toffey to put runners on the corners with one outs. Then, they executed a perfect double steal, scoring Guthrie from third on a throw to second where Toffey was stealing to. Syracuse would escape the inning without further trouble, but the damage was done, as Lehigh Valley had a 6-5 lead that they would never relinquish.

The IronPigs tacked on another run in the eighth when Josh Ockimey tripled leading off the inning and later trotted home the final 90 feet on a wild pitch from Syracuse Mets reliever Bryce Montes de Oca. It may have been a bad blip for the right-handed reliever, but overall, Montes de Oca looked good on Friday night. The 26-year-old fanned four batters in one and on-third innings and now has 13 strikeouts in 11 and two-thirds innings of work in Triple-A this season.

Lehigh Valley’s offense took plenty of headlines in the 7-5 win, but the true shining star was the IronPigs bullpen. In the final five and two-thirds innings of the game, relievers Ofreidy Gómez, Jakob Hernandez, Jace Fry, and Tyler Cyr combined to no-hit the Mets with just one walk and six strikeouts. The final 15 Syracuse batters of the night were sent down in order, handing the IronPigs their first win of the week in the process.

Syracuse is back home at NBT Bank Stadium on Saturday night to continue its six-game series against the Leigh Valley IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets are scheduled to start left-hander Thomas Szapucki, opposed by left-hander Ricardo Sanchez for the IronPigs. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m.