Jacob deGrom got the help he needed Monday from the Mets, who did not let his latest quality start go to waste for the first time in three weeks.
The ace RHP limited the Diamondbacks to one run on three hits, striking out 11 and walking one in 7.0 innings as New York downed Arizona for a 3-1 series-opening win for the four-game set at Citi Field.
The first victory for deGrom since Aug. 17's 4-1 win over the Kansas City Royals came with support from the plate to the mound, highlighted by 1B Pete Alonso's two home runs and RHP Seth Lugo's two perfect innings.
"I still think I take the mound the same way," deGrom said. "I don't like giving up runs. If I go out there and give up zeroes, we're in every game. A couple of hits here and there and then score a couple of runs, we're in every game. I've had a couple of games this year that I wish I could go back and change some pitches, and maybe slow them down a little bit, but it happened. But my main goal's just to go out there and put us in a position to win."
DeGrom (9-8) has done so in just about every start on the season, sporting a 2.70 ERA with 231 strikeouts to 43 walks over 183.0 innings.
He pointed to his changeup when asked about the increased effectiveness against the Diamondbacks (75-69, 17.5 GB in NL West, 2.0 GB for second Wild Card), whose only run came on a fifth-inning solo shot from former Met Wilmer Flores.
The outing was otherwise the latest dominant peformance put on display by deGrom, whose series-opening start manager Mickey Callaway described in simple terms.
"Vintage Jake," Callaway said. "Fastball (is) pinpoint. At times, can elevate when he needs to. Execute the changeup. Get the slider down and away. Just dominant.
"He fell behind to Wilmer Flores (in a 3-1 count) and Wilmer hits great pitching. Short, quick swing and that was the only fault of the night. He was tremendous."
With reinforcements from Alonso's multi-home run night and a timely fourth-inning RBI single by SS Amed Rosario, deGrom got just enough run support.
Lugo's six-out save kept the Mets out of dramatics, pounding the zone in the eighth and ninth innings. Four strikeouts and 18 strikes on 21 pitches highlighted his dominant relief outing, picking up where deGrom left off as the Mets (73-70, 16.0 GB in NL East, 3.5 GB for second Wild Card) held the Diamondbacks off.
"This guy doesn't let anything rattle him," Callaway said of deGrom. "Still, at times, it's hard to score runs for him and he doesn't let it bother his performance. He knows he can control one thing and that's Jacob deGrom, and he knows he's really good. And it doesn't take anybody else. He knows, deep down inside, who he is and he's going to go out there every day and he does that."