The World Series just got serious.
Syndergaard threw six strong innings after sailing his first pitch at the head of Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar and the Mets scored multiple runs in three innings on their way to a 9-3 win in Game 3 of the World Series at Citi Field.
With the victory, the Mets narrowed the Royals' lead to two games to one. Game 4 is scheduled for Saturday night -- and if Syndergaard's words late Friday night are any indication, the intensity will be ratcheted up beyond the usual levels associated with a World Series.
"My intent on that pitch was to make them uncomfortable," Syndergaard said of his pitch at Escobar, who is known for swinging at the first pitch and won the AL Championship Series MVP after hitting .386 in the six-game win over the Toronto Blue Jays. "And I think I did just that."
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas was captured by television cameras yelling obscenities at Syndergaard. Afterward, Escobar called the pitch "stupid" while Alex Rios -- whom Syndergaard retired to end Kansas City's final threat in the sixth -- also criticized Syndergaard.
"I thought it was weak," Rios said. "Very weak. I thought it was unprofessional."
"If they have a problem with me throwing inside, then they can meet me 60 feet, six inches away," Syndergaard said. "I've got no problem with that."
While Syndergaard set the early message, it was the Royals who got off to a fast start. After Escobar struck out on four pitches, second baseman Ben Zobrist doubled, went to third on a single by center fielder Lorenzo Cain and scored when the Mets could not complete a double play on first baseman Eric Hosmer's grounder to first.
Mets third baseman David Wright (2-for-5, four RBIs) hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning, but the Royals scored twice in the second, when they opened the inning with three straight singles. The third, by Rios, tied the score and Rios raced home with the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Syndergaard.
But the Mets' lanky rookie stranded Escobar at second by retiring Zobrist on a flyout -- the first of 12 straight outs by Syndergaard.
"When we set up the rotation, the way Noah had been pitching, you kind of look at that Game 3 as a pivotal game anyway," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He came through exactly how we expected him to."
Syndergaard helped the Mets regain the lead in the bottom of the third, when he delivered a leadoff single and scored on a homer to right by right fielder Curtis Granderson (2-for-5, three runs scored).
The first three Mets to step to the plate in the fourth all reached base, though they scored just once on an RBI single by left fielder Michael Conforto. After Syndergaard escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth, New York put the game away by batting around and scoring four runs on four singles in the bottom half.
Pinch-hitter Juan Uribe, who hadn't played since Sept. 25 because of a chest injury, delivered a pinch-RBI single and Wright had a two-run single. The inning also included a bizarre play in which Royals left-hander Francisco Morales faked a throw to every base on a Granderson comebacker hit with runners at the corners.
"When you string hits together, as they did in both games against us, you can score runs," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
The Royals had 21 hits and three multi-run innings in winning the first two games in Kansas City.
"In the World Series, you're going to keep it close or hopefully break it open with some of those singles," Collins said. "Hopefully, in our park, our offense gets it going the next two nights."
Syndergaard ended up allowing three runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out six. The Royals struck out just 10 times in the first two games, including only four times against Mets starters Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom.
"We swung the bat really good against him in the first two innings," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "If you're going to get a really good pitcher, you better get him early."
A trio of Mets relievers set down the final nine Royals in order. For only the second time in 13 playoff games, no Kansas City player had multiple hits.
Right-hander Yordano Ventura took the loss for the Royals after allowing five runs, seven hits and no walks while striking out one in 3 1/3 innings.
NOTES: The Star-Spangled Banner was sung by Long Island pop superstar Billy Joel, who performed the final concerts at Shea Stadium in 2008 and sang the anthem at the opener of the Mets-Yankees Subway Series in 2000. The first pitch was thrown out by former Mets C Mike Piazza. ... Steve Phillips, the Sirius XM host who was the Mets' general manager the last time they made the World Series, watched batting practice before taking a seat in the press box. ... The Royals, who fielded the same lineup during the first 13 games of the playoffs, moved their six through nine hitters up a spot to make room for RHP Yordano Ventura in the National League park. ... The Royals are the 38th team to win the first two games of the World Series at home. ... The Mets' top eight batters were the same as in the team's last six games against right-handed pitchers.