NEW YORK — Daniel Murphy and the Mets have their October formula down and are sticking with it.
Murphy homered off another ace to provide an early cushion for Noah Syndergaard, and New York breezed past Jake Arrieta the Cubs 4-1 Sunday night for a 2-0 lead in the so-far surprisingly one-sided NL Championship Series.
Power, pitching, plus some dazzling defense. The Mets' confidence is surging.
"We've beaten some of the best the game has to offer," captain David Wright said.
Arrieta, baseball's most dominant pitcher since the All-Star break, had not even settled in when Murphy homered for the fourth straight game, a two-run drive just inside the rightfield pole in a three-run first inning.
Murphy is one shy of Carlos Beltran's record for consecutive postseason games with a homer. Beltran homered in five straight in 2004 with the Astros.
"We're having a whole lot of fun right now," said Murphy, who homered in the first inning for the second straight game and seems to have a reserved star-of-the-game seat in the interview room.
Given the quick lead on a chilly night, Syndergaard kept the bats of Chicago's young sluggers on ice with shutout ball into the sixth inning.
Curtis Granderson robbed former East Lake standout Chris Coghlan of a likely home run with a leaping grab at the rightfield wall, swiped two bases and scored twice for the Mets.
After beating Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester and Arrieta, the Mets are two wins from reaching their first World Series since 2000.
New York starts 2013 NL rookie of the year Jacob deGrom when the series resumes Tuesday night at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Rookie left-hander Steven Matz is set for Game 4 followed by Game 1 winner Matt Harvey on Thursday.
"They don't have the credentials that Kershaw and Greinke and Lester and Arrieta have, but they're going to be good pitchers," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We think we can stack up with anybody."
If the long-downtrodden Cubs are to reach the World Series for the first time since 1945, they must first force the best-of-seven NLCS back to Citi Field next weekend.
"We're all about one-game winning streaks," Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. "I know it's psychobabble 101, but it actually works."
After homering off Kershaw (twice), Greinke and Lester, Murphy added his fifth home run of the postseason.
"He's about as locked in as I've seen a hitter," Wright said.
Syndergaard came out throwing 99 mph darts until the sixth, when Dexter Fowler singled and scored on Kris Bryant's two-out double off the leftfield wall. Jon Niese came in and struck out Anthony Rizzo.