Mets RHP Jacob deGrom threw eight strong innings and homered to help the New York avoid getting swept by Washington Nationals with a 5-1 win on Sunday at Citi Field.
While the Mets had been outscored 22-9 over the first three games of the series, DeGrom (6-3) shut down the Nationals on Sunday. After giving up an unearned run in the first inning, he settled into a groove, retiring 13 of 14 batters between the third and seventh innings.
"Those are the kind of guys that stop losing streaks," manager Terry Collins said, according to the New York Daily News' Peter Botte. "You lose three in a row, and who shows up? Jake deGrom. And that means a lot."
While the Mets have fallen to 10 1/2 games back of the Nationals in the NL East and are 12 games back of the second spot in the wild card, Collins said Sunday's win was big heading into a 10-game road trip beginning with a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday.
"It's a huge win for us," Collins said, according to Newsday's Laura Albanese. "You can't pay attention to the standings. The only thing you can control is how you play. If you win games, you'll get back in the race. And I do believe."
Since giving up 15 runs and 18 hits in eight total innings in back-to-back losses, deGrom has rebounded, giving up two runs (one earned) and eight hits in 17 innings over his last two outings.
"Like I said before, those were two starts," deGrom said. "Baseball's a funny game. I felt good those starts, I just gave up a bunch of runs. After those two, I was just trying to prepare for these next ones. That's all you can do."
DeGrom helped his cause with his first-career home run, hitting Joe Ross' first pitch of the third inning over the left-center-field fence to tie the game at 1.
"I think I got lucky," deGrom said. "I was running pretty hard, so no, I didn't know it was gone."