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Francisco Álvarez homers, strong Syracuse pitching earns 4-1 win and series split with Omaha 

Francisco Álvarez connects on a ball that he launched over the wall in right-center field for a home run on Sunday afternoon. (Herm Card)
July 31, 2022

Syracuse, NY – The Syracuse Mets wrapped up their six-game series with the Omaha Storm Chasers in strong fashion, winning the series finale, 4-1, on a sunny Sunday at NBT Bank Stadium. The Mets split the series with the Storm Chasers, taking three of the six games in the series.

*Syracuse, NY – *The Syracuse Mets wrapped up their six-game series with the Omaha Storm Chasers in strong fashion, winning the series finale, 4-1, on a sunny Sunday at NBT Bank Stadium. The Mets split the series with the Storm Chasers, taking three of the six games in the series. Syracuse has yet to lose a series since June 8th-12th against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Mets have won or split each of their last seven series.

Syracuse (45-54) got off to a roaring start, scoring three runs on four hits in the first inning. The scoring began in a flash. Kramer Robertson led off the inning with a single. Then, Francisco Álvarez took a pitch on the outside part of the plate and pounded it the other way, sailing over the wall in right-center field for his third Triple-A home run and a 2-0 Mets lead. Álvarez, the top-ranked prospect in Minor League Baseball, now has hits in five straight games. The good news continued for the home team later on in the first inning. After Álvarez’s home run, Daniel Palka walked, and Mark Vientos doubled to put runners on second and third with nobody out. After Nick Plummer struck out, Gosuke Katoh singled to plate Palka and make it 3-0 Syracuse after one inning of play.

Remarkably, that trio of early runs would prove to hold up, as the Mets pitching was downright outstanding on Sunday afternoon. It all started with David Peterson, who allowed just one run on four hits in four and one-thirds innings with seven strikeouts. It was first Triple-A start for Peterson since May 13th as he’s spent the majority of the season up in the Major Leagues with the New York Mets.

The one run that Peterson allowed came in the top of the fourth inning. Omaha (49-49) scored on a two-out triple from Dairon Blanco, scoring Emmanuel Rivera to trim the Syracuse lead to two, 3-1.

From there, the bullpen held the fort. Relievers Trey Cobb, Trevor May, and Thomas Szapucki held Omaha off the board through the eighth inning, allowing just one hit and two baserunners while striking out three batters. Szapucki stood out from the pack, working a 1-2-3 eighth inning with another strikeout. The left-hander also pitched out of the bullpen on Friday night, working another 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts on that evening. Szapucki has spent the season primarily as a starting pitcher for Syracuse.

The Mets tacked on their final run of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. Gosuke Katoh tripled off the top of the right-center field wall leading off the frame and later pranced home on an RBI groundout from Deven Marrero. Katoh finished the week with a double, two triples, and a home run. Katoh now has 15 extra-base hits on the season.

Bryce Montes de Oca locked down the game once again brilliantly in the top of the ninth, striking out two Omaha batters in a scoreless frame to earn his sixth save in Triple-A this season. The hulking right-handed reliever has struck out an astounding 33 batters in 21 innings with the Syracuse Mets so far this season.

Syracuse now hits the road next week, beginning a six-game series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Tuesday morning at 11:35 a.m. It is the first road trip of the season for Syracuse to Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Mets are 6-6 in 12 games against the IronPigs so far this season.