NEW YORK — Chase Utley hit a grand slam and a solo homer after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind his back, and the Los Angeles Dodgers went deep a season-high five times in routing the New York Mets 9-1 on Saturday night.
In a scene that seemed inevitable since October, Syndergaard was immediately ejected following the third-inning pitch — almost certainly his shot at retaliation against Utley for the late takeout slide that broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in last year’s playoffs.
Plate umpire Adam Hamari tossed Syndergaard, sending Mets manager Terry Collins into a rage, but no trouble ensued between the teams. A longtime New York nemesis, Utley raised one hand slightly in the direction of the Dodgers’ bench to keep teammates calm — and later answered by doing all sorts of damage with his bat.
Kenta Maeda (4-3) shook off an early line drive that appeared to hit him in the pitching hand and threw five shutout innings for the win. The right-hander yielded two hits, both in the first, and snapped his three-game losing streak.
Adrian Gonzalez homered and had four hits for the Dodgers, who spoiled the Mets’ 30th anniversary celebration of their 1986 World Series championship. Corey Seager and Howie Kendrick also connected, all after Syndergaard was gone.
Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares homered in the eighth for New York, long after the outcome was decided.
The stoic Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since Tejada was injured. The Mets — and their fans — were incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules this season designed to protect infielders in what some call the Utley Rule.
But the Mets had not tried to retaliate until Saturday night.
With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard’s first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman’s back by a considerable margin.
Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected after screaming at Hamari and pointing in his face during an animated argument. The manager was finally escorted back toward the New York dugout by another umpire.
After waiting near the mound with teammates for some time, Syndergaard walked calmly to the Mets’ dugout without showing any emotion as the crowd cheered him.
Logan Verrett (3-2) entered for the Mets and, with a vocal contingent in the sellout crowd of 42,227 urging him to hit Utley with a pitch, eventually threw a called third strike past him. But then Utley homered on Verrett’s first pitch of the sixth to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
Booed all night, Utley added his sixth career slam off Hansel Robles in the seventh, giving Los Angeles a 6-0 cushion with his 38th career homer against the Mets.
In the series opener Friday night, Utley was greeted with loud jeers and derisive chants. He had four RBI in a 6-5 loss, including a three-run double that tied the score with two outs in the ninth.
WHERE ARE YOU NOW?
Tejada was released by the Mets during spring training and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, who designated him for assignment Saturday.
Mets: INF Wilmer Flores (hamstring) went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly in his fifth rehab game for Double-A Binghamton. Before the game, Collins said it was reasonable to think Flores could come off the disabled list Sunday.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.48 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday night against 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.44). Kershaw, coming off a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati, is 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 starts against the Mets. He is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in May — including a three-hit shutout of New York on May 12 at Dodger Stadium. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has struck out 55 and walked two this month.