Noah Syndergaard was slow to get started in his second Triple-A start, and the 51s followed suit in a 7-4 loss to the Sacramento River Cats on Wednesday night at Cashman Field.
Rated the Mets’ No. 1 prospect and No. 11 prospect in baseball by MLB.com, Syndergaard allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits in five innings, with two walks and two strikeouts.
He gave up a leadoff double to Shane Peterson to start the game and a two-out RBI single to Kent Matthes in the first and the River Cats (3-4) added another run in the second as Syndergaard issued two walks and shortstop Wilmer Flores made a fielding error.
The 6-foot-6-inch, 240-pound right-hander then retired eight straight batters before allowing two runs on four hits in the fifth as Las Vegas (5-2) fell behind 4-2. On a limit of 90 pitches, he left after throwing 91, 61 for strikes.
“His tempo was way too slow tonight, especially early in the game,” manager Wally Backman said. “He got better as the game went on but there were times he was 20-plus seconds in between pitches.
“His stuff was there, but everything you hear about in baseball is rhythm and timing and it wasn’t there tonight for him.”
Syndergaard, 21, said he needs to be reminded sometimes to pick up his pace.
“I could’ve sped my tempo up a little bit better,” he said. “It’s something that’s kind of hard to pick up for myself. It’s something I kind of have to be told.
“I felt like I did pretty well. I feel like the stat line really doesn’t do it justice. I felt I made some pretty good pitches. They just got the barrel on the ball and got them over the infielder’s head.”
Syndergaard, who touched 97 mph, gave up a single to Jake Goebbert and double to Ryan Ortiz to start the fifth. Jose Martinez lined an RBI single to make it 3-2 and Carrithers followed with a bloop single to left to make it 4-2.
“In the fifth inning, I felt good going out there,” he said. “I gave up a few weakly hit balls and it sort of escalated after that.”
Syndergaard got the win in his season debut Friday, holding Fresno to two runs on six hits in six innings, with a walk and five strikeouts.
“My arm felt a lot better and my body felt better than my first start, but my results weren’t near as good,” he said.
Eric Campbell belted a two-run home run for the second straight night to tie it in the fourth for the 51s, who left 10 men on base.
“We were a little flat tonight,” Backman said. “You have days like that. Sometimes the tempo of the game will put you in that mood.”
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33.