Even when the Mets win lately, it hurts.
Noah Syndergaard left his start after six innings with a sore elbow and Yoenis Cespedes came out because of an aching wrist, yet New York held off the Royals 4-3 Wednesday for a two-game sweep in their World Series rematch.
Both star players were sent to the doctor as the banged-up Mets packed for a seven-game road trip. Lucas Duda, David Wright, Juan Lagares and reliever Jim Henderson already are out with injuries, and Bartolo Colon lasted four pitches in New York's 2-1 victory Tuesday night before he was hit in the thumb by a line drive.
Fellow pitcher Zack Wheeler recently had a setback in his rehab from Tommy John surgery.
"We've got to keep grinding. We've got to go with what we've got," second baseman Neil Walker said. "This is no different than what we've kind of been going through."
Matt Reynolds snapped a sixth-inning tie with his first major league home run for the Mets. Asdrubal Cabrera homered for the second straight day and scored with an acrobatic slide to help Syndergaard (8-2) win his sixth consecutive decision.
Cespedes had two hits and a walk, including a double off the center-field wall, but was removed in the sixth because of discomfort in his left wrist.
"If you remember last fall he had a similar problem with that left hand. He takes some swings and it comes off the bat," manager Terry Collins said. "So I don't know what the issue is. I'm certainly concerned about it. Anytime, when you're a hitter and you're a big hitter and your hands and your wrists have problems, it's a concern."
So is the news about Syndergaard, an emerging ace in his second big league season and the hardest-throwing starter in the majors. The 23-year-old pitcher had his right elbow examined earlier this year after feeling some tightness, but hasn't missed a turn in the rotation.
"His elbow flared up on him. That's why I took him out of the game," said a terse Collins, nudged by Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz to disclose that information at the conclusion of his postgame news conference.
Syndergaard pitched on six days' rest, pushed back a day after throwing 115 pitches - one short of his most in the majors - over a career-high 8 1/3 innings during his previous outing.
Cheslor Cuthbert homered for the Royals, who had won eight of nine when they arrived at Citi Field - where they clinched their 2015 championship with a late rally in Game 5.
But after a string of comebacks floored the Mets last fall, this time New York's bullpen held Kansas City at bay in two more tight games between the teams. Including a two-game split at Kauffman Stadium to begin the season, the Mets took three of four meetings between the defending league champions this year.
Reynolds, playing the outfield for the first time in his professional career, hit an opposite-field drive to right off Joakim Soria (3-3) with two outs in the sixth.
"He put it in the air, and the wind took care of the rest," Soria said.
That put New York ahead 4-3 and made a winner of Syndergaard, who won 2-0 at Kansas City in April. Of course, he also earned New York's only World Series victory last October and irritated the Royals by firing his first pitch above Alcides Escobar's head.
The big right-hander squandered a pair of one-run leads this time, giving up three runs and a season-high eight hits. He struck out four and walked none.
Jerry Blevins and Addison Reed set up Jeurys Familia for his major league-leading 24th save.
Curtis Granderson walked with two outs in the fifth and Cabrera hit a two-run shot off a 97 mph, 1-2 fastball from frustrated starter Danny Duffy.
"I made one bad pitch that really kind of screwed up the whole performance," Duffy said.
Whit Merrifield and Paulo Orlando each had an RBI single for the Royals.
STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND
New York sat slumping LF Michael Conforto against the left-hander, so Reynolds started in left field and made all his plays. The rookie infielder said the last time he played the outfield was one summer ballgame in the Cape Cod League during college.
Royals: All-Star LF Alex Gordon (broken right wrist) played his fourth rehab game at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He was 4 for 11 with a home run and a double in his first three games and could rejoin the Royals this weekend.
Mets: The 43-year-old Colon remains scheduled to make his next start Sunday in Atlanta. ... Needing a fresh arm in their taxed bullpen, the Mets recalled RHP Logan Verrett from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned INF Ty Kelly to their top farm club.
Royals: After a day off Thursday, their second in four days, the Royals play another opponent they dispatched during the 2015 postseason. RHP Edinson Volquez (7-6, 4.12 ERA) faces AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel (3-9, 5.32) when Houston visits Kansas City on Friday night for a three-game series.
Mets: RHP Matt Harvey (4-9, 4.76 ERA) takes the mound Thursday night in the opener of a four-game set. RHP Matt Wisler (3-7, 4.23) pitches for the last-place Braves, who beat Harvey and swept three games at Citi Field last weekend.