By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Mets took a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series with a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
Hard-throwing Mets starter Noah 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.
He was backed by Daniel Murphy, who belted a two-run homer that capped a three-run first inning that Chicago was unable to overcome on another cold, windy night at Citi Field.
It was the fourth post-season game in a row in which Murphy homered and gave him five overall this post-season, tying Mike Piazza's franchise record.
The victory dealt a blow to the Cubs' chances of reaching their first World Series in 70 years as it came against Chicago's ace Jake Arrieta, who was 22-6 this season and had been 2-0 in the playoffs.
The series shifts to Chicago for Game Three on Tuesday, with the Cubs scheduled to start Kyle Hendricks (8-7, 3.95 ERA) against New York's Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.54).
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)