Hopefully he’s safe from the arm issues that interrupted his last two starts, the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner is back at dominant hitters – and the record books.
DeGrom took charge of New York on his return from another injury, throwing a scoreless five-innings hitting as the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2 on Monday to open a doubles program.
Closest to the Braves, Will Smith, loaded the goals in the seventh inning of the night, but escaped for his 14th save in a 1-0 victory. Ronald Acuna Jr. hit his 20th homerun and Ian Anderson became the first native New Yorker to beat the Mets and Yankees in New York in the same season.
DeGrom didn’t allow a hit in the first seven-inning game until the Mets outfielder misplayed a ball with two outs in the fifth, dropping it for a rule double. DeGrom threw 70 shots, including 15 at over 100 mph, with two walks and six strikeouts.
“I felt great,” deGrom said. “I think that’s why we decided at this 70-length mark to say that was enough, that we didn’t want to overdo it. “
Jeff McNeil was off the injured list and scored a single for deGrom (7-2) in New York’s three-point fifth inning. He scored on Dominic Smith’s three-point brace.
Ozzie Albies hit a two-run homerun against Seth Lugo in Game 1 for the Braves, who had won three of four games but were playing their second doubles in two days – they also split this one, winning the last drink against St. Louis 1-0 at an Acuna circuit.
Left-hander Kyle Muller (0-1) threw a four-set hit in Game 1, leaving a 1-0 deficit in his first big league start.
“He threw the ball extremely well,” said Atlanta manager Brian Snitker. “Had a good break ball, kept his cool, everything was really good. “
Mets’ closest, Edwin Diaz, finished a hit in Game 1, throwing in the seventh for his 15th save on 16 occasions.
Mets spark plug Jonathan Villar left Game 2 with an apparent lower-body injury after starting the sixth with a brace, one of many health-related setbacks for New York.
DeGrom has pitched 30 consecutive scoreless innings, 2 2/3 less than RA Dickey’s franchise record set in 2012. His 0.50 ERA is the lowest per pitcher in 12 starts in major league history . Opponents are hitting .113 against him, the lowest average against a pitcher in 12 games since at least 1901, with a minimum of 70 innings.
Two days after his 33rd birthday, deGrom came out shooting on his first start as his previous two outings were cut short by arm issues. The right-hander was retired after three perfect innings against the Cubs last Wednesday with shoulder pain, and he left the outing before June 11 against San Diego with flexor tendonitis in his right arm.
DeGrom put nervous New York fans at ease by hitting Acuna with a 100 mph fastball to start the game. The 33-year-old has thrown 154 shots at 100 mph or more this season, most in baseball among the starting pitchers – Shane McClanahan of Tampa Bay was second on Monday with 14.
“He’s on another level,” Snitker said.
In Game 2, Jerad Eickhoff gave New York four scoreless innings in his first major league appearance since June 16, 2019 with Philadelphia, but Miguel Castro (2-2) awarded Acuna’s first shot at the fifth.
Anderson (5-3) pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out five. Raised in Clifton Park, the right-hander became the first state native to beat two New York teams in the Big Apple in a season since Philadelphia’s Jim Konstanty and Chicago’s Turk Lown both beat the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants in 1953.
Smith allowed two hits and one walk with one out. Braves third baseman Austin Riley – who made two diving saves in Game 1 – nearly finished the game late in the game when he dived to catch Kevin Pillar’s coating. Riley spread out to touch third place as Pete Alonso retired to score. The referees called Alonso, but that decision was overturned via a replay.
Brandon Drury jumped to second base for the final putout.
The Mets have 13 points in their last seven games. They threatened in the sixth, but Jose Peraza and Francisco Lindor were each dismissed carelessly on the bases.
COMPLIANCE WITH THE PLAN
DeGrom was the first pitcher inspected in Major League Baseball’s crackdown on foreign substances. He spent.
Fans booed loudly when home plate umpire Ben May stopped deGrom as he came off the pitch after the first inning. Team leader Ron Kulpa jogged from third base and asked deGrom for his glove and hat, and deGrom laughed as he held them out. Kulpa also asked deGrom to undo his belt buckle and also checked for goop.
Cleared by Kulpa, deGrom walked over to the dugout, laughing with receiver Tomas Nido from the exchange. The pitchers of both teams were checked throughout the game.
“I honestly didn’t mind,” deGrom said. “It was quick and it went quite easily. “
An MRI scan revealed Mets left-hander Joey Lucchesi tore the ulnar collateral ligament on his pitching elbow. New York is seeking a second opinion, but Tommy John surgery is a strong possibility.
Acting general manager Zack Scott said last week the Mets would seek improvement through trade for their heaviest rotation. The loss of Lucchesi could accelerate this research. The 28-year-old was 1-4 with a 4.46 ERA but had a 1.19 ERA in his last five starts.
The Mets starters have a 2.63 ERA, the best in the majors.
Mets: McNeil hadn’t played since May 16 due to left hamstring strain. He was 0 for 3 in Game 2.… C Tomas Nido was hit in the right wrist by a pitch in Game 1 and was substituted half an inning later by James McCann. The x-rays were negative. … RHP Robert Gsellman was placed on the 10 day injured list with a right lat strain. … RHP Jeurys Familia has been added to the 10-day injury list between games with a right hip impingement. … LHP Stephen Tarpley has been recalled from Triple-A Syracuse as New York’s 27th man for the twinbill.
Braves: Muller was Atlanta’s 27th man.
Braves RHP Ian Anderson (4-3, 3.58) could become the first New Yorker to beat the Yankees and Mets in the same season when he kicks off the last drink. Mets RHP Jerad Eickhoff will debut for his first appearance this season.