CHICAGO -- Rene Rivera had full confidence that reliever Jeurys Familia could pitch the New York Mets out of a ninth-inning, bases-loaded jam.
Just to be sure, the Mets catcher went out for a chat with his teammate as New York tried to maintain its 2-1 lead over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
"I know Familia, he's been there before," Rivera said. "After the first couple of batters, I went out there and told him: 'Hey, we can do this, just go back to the strike zone, you're going to have all the ground balls and we'll get out of the inning.'
"And that's what we did."
Familia had a shaky but ultimately successful ninth as the Mets held on for a 2-1 victory.
Familia was rescued by a play at the plate that prevented Addison Russell from scoring a tying run and by a game-ending double play that snuffed out a potential walk-off Cubs rally as he collected his 33rd save.
Rivera also went 3-for-4 and had the big hit that put New York in front in the top of the ninth. He laced a two-out single to right off Cubs closer Hector Rondon to score Neil Walker from second base and give the Mets their first lead of the night.
"I went out there knowing that he likes to throw fastballs," Rivera said. "I just wanted to (get) a good swing, good contact and make something happen. And thank God I did."
Reliever Hansel Robles (4-3) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Rondon (1-2), the Cubs' third pitcher of the night, worked the top of the ninth and took the loss.
The victory evened the series at a game apiece heading into the finale Wednesday afternoon.
Tuesday's game was originally touted as a showdown between two aces -- Mets starter Noah Syndergaard and Cubs counterpart Jake Arrieta.
Neither figured in decisions, but both pitched well, especially Arrieta, who bounced back from recent poor outings. The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner allowed one run on five hits in seven innings. Arrieta struck out eight and walked just one.
"That was a little more like it," said Arrieta, who made his first start since July 8. "Really aggressive in the strike zone, and I was using my off-speed pretty well throughout the game. It was a tough game overall really. Syndergaard on the other side he was good. We had some opportunities, but he made some good pitches. He's a tough one to hit."
Arrieta pitched five scoreless innings before he allowed a run and worked out of a jam in the seventh. With runners on first and second and two outs, he struck out Alejandro De Aza to end the inning.
Syndergaard left after working 5 2/3 innings with the game tied 1-1. He allowed one unearned run on seven hits, struck out eight and walked two while throwing 105 pitches.
Like Arrieta, Syndergaard had not pitched since July 8. He had to deal with baserunners in each of the first four innings but only allowed a run in the third.
"I felt really comfortable starting the game," he said. "I was just trying to nibble on the corners a little bit and not getting the balls over and missing my spots -- not by much -- just a little bit. ... (But) I felt pretty crisp in terms of mechanics out there."
Chicago (56-37) lost for the second time in three games. New York (50-43) won for the third time in five games.
Syndergaard struck out the first two batters he faced in the third, but the Cubs got on the board after Willson Contreras reached on a standup double, leading to an opportunistic first run.
With Jason Heyward at the plate, Syndergaard threw a wild pitch past catcher Rivera as Contreras sprinted for third. Contreras then came home with the game's first run as Rivera's throw to catch the runner at third sailed into left field.
Arrieta lined a double into left-center with two outs in the fourth and bolted around third on Tommy La Stella's single. However, right fielder Michael Conforto fired a perfect strike to Rivera to tag Arrieta as he crossed the plate.
The Mets tied the game in the top of the sixth as Jose Reyes lined a leadoff triple to the right field corner and scored on Curtis Granderson's sacrifice fly to center.
NOTES: New York has hit 127 home runs, tied for the NL lead with Washington and tied for fourth in the majors. The Mets are 44-19 when they hit at least one home run. ... New York sends RHP Bartolo Colon (8-4, 3.11 ERA) against Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (8-6. 2.41 ERA) in Wednesday's series finale. ... The Cubs unveiled their latest Wrigley Field renovation plans on Tuesday, this time for a spacious underground club in back of home plate with construction beginning at the close of the 2016 season. A 2018 opening is planned.
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