Cubs hammer Syndergaard, hold off Mets 10-7 to gain on Cards

NEW YORK — Kyle Schwarber hit one of Chicago’s three homers against a stunned Noah Syndergaard, and the Cubs built an early nine-run lead before closer Craig Kimbrel held off the New York Mets in the ninth inning for a 10-7 victory Wednesday night.

Nicholas Castellanos and Ian Happ also took Syndergaard (9-7) deep in the worst start of the 2016 All-Star’s career. Syndergaard allowed 10 runs and three homers — both his most in the majors — and was pulled after three miserable innings the day before his 27th birthday.

Kimbrel entered with a three-run lead and let his first two batters reach in the ninth. He escaped a dicey 3-0 count against red-hot Amed Rosario with a fielder’s choice, struck out Juan Lagares and got Todd Frazier to fly out for his 12th save.

Chicago climbed within two games of the NL Central-leading Cardinals, who lost 4-1 to the Brewers. The Cubs remained two games ahead of the Phillies for the second NL wild card and extended their edge over the Mets to four.

New York has dropped five straight, all at home, and lost steam on an improbable second-half surge into the playoff chase. The Mets will try to avoid a three-game sweep Thursday night before traveling to Philadelphia for a pivotal three-game series this weekend.

Jeff McNeil ended a rare 0-for-9 slide with a two-run homer, going back-to-back with J.D. Davis in the fifth. Those shots sparked a five-run inning that chased Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks. McNeil had three hits and was a triple shy of the cycle.

The Mets put runners on in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth, but Chicago’s bullpen limited the damage. Kyle Ryan (4-2) got the win with a scoreless inning.

Chicago scored six runs and batted around in the first. Happ highlighted the burst with a two-run homer, Addison Russell had a two-run single and Schwarber hit an RBI double. Syndergaard hit a batter and threw a wild pitch, and things were made worse by an error from Rosario at shortstop.

Schwarber hit his career-best 31st homer in the second inning, and Castellanos delivered his 20th of the season in the fourth — both two-run shots.

Nine of the runs charged to Syndergaard were earned, and he allowed nine hits while striking out five.

Syndergaard’s previous career worst for runs allowed was seven, against San Diego on June 2, 2015. The right-hander had been rolling recently, entering with eight consecutive quality starts for the first time in his career. He had a 1.82 ERA in that span.

Wilson Ramos singled for the Mets leading off the fourth to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 21 games, longest in the majors this season. The catcher also caught speedster Tony Kemp attempting to steal to end the seventh on a pitchout — a play rarely run and executed in today’s game. Rosario applied a stellar tag while being pulled off the base by Ramos’ throw.

Hendricks was charged with six runs in 4 2/3 innings. He gave up eight hits and struck out three.

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