Noah Syndergaard accomplished two important things Sunday. He picked up his first win of the season and he pitched seven innings for the first time in his professional career.
The Mets' No. 3 prospect, two starts removed from allowing seven runs over three innings, gave up an unearned run on five hits while striking out seven in seven frames as St. Lucie cruised past Tampa, 9-2.
MLB.com's No. 29 overall prospect made it his second straight start without allowing an earned run.
"Today, he really located his fastball really well over both sides of the plate. Kept the ball down and was pretty much in command of all his pitches," St. Lucie pitching coach Phil Regan said. "He also had two strikeouts on curveballs and two on changeups, and these are the things we have been working on.
"And he went seven innings. It was an interesting thing, someone mentioned to him it was the first time he went seven innings this year. And he says, "Yeah, it's the first time in three years, since high school.'"
The 20-year-old right-hander has made a nice first impression with his new club, which traded Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto for Syndergaard and top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud.
Through five starts, Syndergaard has a 3.24 ERA and 26 strikeouts against 10 walks in 25 innings. At Class A Lansing last year, he was 8-5 with a 2.60 ERA in 103 2/3 innings, striking out 122 and walking 31.
"He's really coming along well. I think he's making a lot of strides," Regan said. "He's understanding a lot about pitching and he's just a tremendous kid, soaks up knowledge and wants to learn. I think he's done exceptionally well for his age and where he's coming from. He's not afraid, he goes right after [hitters], aggressive on the mound. I think he's got confidence in himself, and that's all part of it."
Regan also said that Syndergaard has been sitting in the high 90s with his fastball, reaching 96 mph with decent regularity. St. Lucie manager Ryan Ellis said he was impressed with how the Texas native had quickly and smoothly acquitted himself in his new organization.
"He's a competitor, he wants to go out and do his best to perform, not only for himself but for the team. And his work and his progress suggest that," Ellis said. "I know it's a little bit like being the new kid in school, but he's taken to it well. He's very diligent about his work habits and his routine and he expects that from himself.
"We're looking forward to seeing how quickly he makes adjustments, especially with the advanced hitters of this league, that he hasn't seen before."
Syndergaard got plenty of support against the Yankees. Second baseman Robbie Shields went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored, while Dustin Lawley doubled and picked up three RBIs.