NEW YORK (AP) — Jacob deGrom pitched seven innings of four-hit ball while getting a rare bit of first-inning run support, and the New York Mets beat the San Diego Padres 4-0 Thursday.
Todd Frazier hit a two-run double as New York built a four-run lead in its first turn against Eric Lauer, the most runs the Mets have scored in the first inning during deGrom’s 160 starts. New York had scored four or more runs total in six of his 20 prior outings this season.
DeGrom (6-7) struck out nine and walked one on 105 pitches in the matinee, extending his scoreless streak to 17 innings. The ace from the Sunshine State has a 1.86 ERA in 52 day games, best in the majors since at least 1913 for pitchers with at least 200 innings.
Mets closer Edwin Díaz entered for the ninth in a non-save situation and was pulled after Manny Machado drilled a base hit off his left foot. Díaz limped off the field with a trainer and was replaced by Luis Avilán.
The Padres have lost nine of 12, a slump that likely has dropped them out the crowded wild card race. Lauer (5-8) was pulled after 2 1/3 innings with four runs allowed on six hits and three walks.
After getting the four-run cushion, deGrom retired his next 11 batters. His 91 mph slider to Francisco Mejía in the second wobbled the rookie, who buckled over his left ankle and nearly fell over. The right-hander threw his slider 58 times, eight more than his previous high in a 10-strikeout game against Philadelphia on July 5. This was the first time in his career deGrom went slider for more than half of his pitches.
New York gave deGrom a little help on defense, too. Shortstop Amed Rosario — tied for worst among shortstops with minus-15 defensive runs saved, per Fangraphs — made two flashy plays, including a diving stop on Luis Urías’ grounder to end the seventh.
Frazier had two hits and two walks. Michael Conforto hit an RBI single and Wilson Ramos lofted a sacrifice fly during the first inning.
Four Padres relievers combined for 6 2/3 scoreless innings after the bullpen pitched five scoreless frames to close out a 7-2 win Wednesday night.
Machado had three hits and Mejía had two, accounting for all five of San Diego’s hits.
BACK AT IT
About 12 hours after making several miscues in left field, the Mets’ Dominic Smith was back in the outfield Thursday morning fielding line drives and grounders. Smith said Wednesday night he wasn’t likely to sleep well after his latest lousy defensive game. A natural first baseman, Smith has been trying to learn the outfield on the fly as New York attempts to get him and All-Star first baseman Pete Alonso in the lineup. He was held out of the lineup with the left-handed Lauer on the mound.
Mets: All-Star Jeff McNeil was held out of the lineup to rest. He pinch hit for deGrom in the seventh.
Padres: LHP Joey Lucchesi (7-5, 4.27) starts the opener of a three-game home series against San Francisco. He’ll oppose RHP Jeff Samardzija (7-8, 4.08). Lucchesi is from the Bay Area and is 2-2 with a 4.44 ERA against the Giants in his career.
Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler (6-6, 4.69) is set to pitch against the Pirates, his first start since July 7 after dealing with a shoulder impingement. Wheeler has been a hot name as the July 31 trade deadline nears, and contending teams are likely to be paying close attention to his health and performance.
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