Jacob deGrom was Mr. Untouchable for the first 17 batters he faced on Sunday, before the laws of endurance caught up with him in his second major league start for the Mets in 13 months.
His 73rd pitch was a 98 mph fastball that missed the high ball for Ehire Adrianza, giving the Braves their first base runner. Three pitches later, Dansby Swanson homered over the fence to right center to give the Braves their first hit and run. DeGrom was done for the day.
By then, the Mets had a three-point lead and were poised to beat their NL East rivals with a 5-2 victory at Citi Field.
By winning four of five games in the series, the Mets dealt a significant blow to the Braves’ chances of winning a fifth consecutive NL East title. The Braves left town trailing by 6½ games in the division. The Braves still have seven games left against the Mets in Atlanta in two series, which could be their biggest source of hope in a run that’s slipping away from them.
DeGrom, in his 200th career start and first home start since July 7 of last season, was a machine in the sixth. At least one strikeout from every batter in the Braves roster was included. DeGron recorded 15 straight strikeouts on 56 pitches, before pulling out Marcell Ozuna and Michael Harris II to start the sixth, bringing his total to 12 strikeouts.
Adrianza’s walk and Swanson’s home run prompted manager Buck Showalter to win the ball from deGrom, who departed to a standing ovation. The Mets ace had started the day to rapturous applause, walking into Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” — a track that had been shelved for more than a year as deGrom recovered from various arm and neck ailments. a stress reaction to his right shoulder blade.
Swanson, before his home run, had retired to start the fourth inning. That strikeout was No. 1,518 in deGrom’s career — the most for a pitcher in 200 career starts.
Reliever Joely Rodriguez stepped up to perhaps his best performance of the season for the Mets by pitching 2 ¹/₃ scoreless innings, with four strikeouts. Edwin Diaz retired the team in the ninth for his 25th save as Mets pitchers finished with 19 strikeouts.
Braves rookie starter Spencer Strider was knocked out in the third inning after allowing four earned runs on six hits and two walks. The Mets tortured the right-hander with patient bats that extended innings.
Pete Alonso’s running groundman on the third base sack attempted a two-run double at third to give the Mets a 2-0 lead. Alonso, with the hit, gave him 97 RBI, tied for the MLB lead with Aaron Judge of the Yankees.
Daniel Vogelbach followed with a walk before Mark Canha hit a two-run double that put the Braves up 4-0. Vogelbach’s big rumble around the bases received additional cheers from the crowd. It was the third time this season that Vogelbach had scored on the first try from a brace.
Jeff McNeil hit a brace in the lead in the fifth and, after advancing to third on a fly ball, scored on Collin McHugh’s wild throw, giving the Mets their fifth run.
The Mets missed a scoring opportunity in the first inning when Brandon Nimmo was put out at second base on a groundout by Starling Marte. Adrianza tagged Nimmo without the ball in his glove before throwing to first base, but Matt Olson fired an alert to second base, where the tag was applied before Nimmo reached the sack. After much consideration, it was decided that Jeff Nelson’s initial call did not stop Nimmo from running to base and that Nimmo was indeed missing.
New York Post