The New York Mets struck early, using a combination of pitching and power to post a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs and take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.
Daniel Murphy blasted a two-run homer to cap a three-run first innings off Cubs ace Jake Arrieta that was all the Mets and starter Noah Syndergaard needed on a cold night at Citi Field.
It was Murphy's fourth successive post-season game with a home run and his fifth overall in the playoffs, tying Mike Piazza for the franchise record.
Mets starter Syndergaard touched 99 mph with his fastball and kept the Cubs off balance with curveballs and change-ups to rack up nine strikeouts and yield one run on three hits and one walk in 5-2/3 innings for the win.
Arrieta, who was virtually un-hittable in the second half of the season as he went 12-1 after the All-Star break to finish with a 22-6 record, allowed the damage right out of the gate.
"I put us in a pretty big hole there in the first and it was a little too hard to overcome." said Arrieta, who did not have top speed on his fastball and resorted more to secondary pitches.
"The biggest part of the night was the two-run [homer]. The mistake to him was really the turning point of the game."