With Matt Harvey still rehabbing from Tommy John, Jacob DeGrom is acting as the Mets surrogate ace. DeGrom may not have the top prospect pedigree or secondary offerings to be a number one starter, but he looked the part Tuesday in Seattle, dominating the Mariners with seven innings of five hit, one run ball as the Mets defeated the Mariners 3-1. His sinker was as sharp as its ever been; he struck out seven, walked just one, and induced eight groundouts.
It was the latest in a string of dominant starts for deGrom. Since June 21, the 26 year old right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA and 45 strikeouts in just 39 2/3 innings. With his last out in the seventh – a strikeout of Mike Zunino – he lowered his seasonal ERA to 3.01, the best of any National League rookie starter.
New York took an early lead in the top of the second thanks to a misplay by Mariners center-fielder James Jones. With Bobby Abreu on first, Travis d’Arnaud hit a sinking line drive up the middle. Running in, Jones slid in an attempt to make a shoestring catch, but he missed and the ball bounded passed him. Abreu scored and d’Arnaud ended up on third with a triple, setting up an RBI single by Ruben Tejada three batters later.
The score remained 2-0 until the bottom of the fifth, when Dustin Ackley answered back for Seattle. With one out and Willie Bloomquist on first, Ackley drove a liner into the gap in right-center for a double.
Bloomquist scored and an errant throw by Daniel Murphy let Ackley reach third, putting the tying run just 90 feet away with one out and Mike Zunino up. Tensions rose as deGrom immediately fell behind 3-0, but the rookie starter stepped up and got Zunino to to pop up to left fielder Eric Young Jr. Endy Chavez then grounded out to end the inning and strand Ackley at third.
New York tacked on another in the eighth as first baseman Lucas Duda crushed a solo shot 446 feet off of the Auxillary board in right-center field. It was the Mets first home run since the All Star Break.
Jeurys Familia came on to pitch a 1-2-3 eighth – complete with a highlight reel over-the-shoulder running catch by Juan Lagares to rob Endy Chavez of an extra base hit to straight away center. Jenrry Mejia then worked a hitless ninth to earn his 12th save of the year and bring the Mets to 47-53, nine games out of first in the NL East.