This long West Coast road trip got started on the right foot — or more accurately, right arm: the right arm of Jacob deGrom. Eight was deGrom’s magic number on this night: eight innings pitched, eight strikeouts, eight consecutive winning starts. He kept the San Diego batters baffled all night and the offense gave him Gibralter-like support.
Wilmer Flores continued his current power streak, launching a home run to left center to lead off the second. The Mets added two in the third when Asdrubal Cabrera singled with one out and Yoenis Cespedes hit a booming shot over the head of right fielder Hunter Renfroe, good for Cespedes’s first triple of the season. Jay Bruce brought him home with a bouncing single into right. The Mets tacked on another in the fifth on a Michael Conforto double, a ground out by Cabrera, an intentional pass to Cespedes and another Bruce base hit.
deGrom cruised into the seventh, when Renfroe hit a moon shot to the roof of the foundry in left field, thoroughly startling the beer-swillers up there. deGrom then calmly struck out the next three men. The Mets got that one back, though, in the top of the eighth, when with two outs, Jose Reyes legged out a disputed infield single. Once the play was confirmed, Reyes promptly stole second, his 500th career theft. He scored on Travis d’Arnaud’s single to center. deGrom finally tired in the eighth, surrendering back-to-back two-out doubles to Jose Pirela and Carlos Asuaeje before getting the dangerous Wil Myers to fly out.
Addison Reed came on for the ninth and things got a little hairy. He immediately gave up another homer to Renfroe on a 1-2 pitch. After an out, Manuel Margot dumped a base hit in front of Conforto in center. Pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez — a mountain of a man — stepped in as the tying run. Reed kept him in the park, but Sanchez did manage a base hit. Jabari Blash — one of the more euphonious names in MLB at the moment — also pinch hit and was quickly down 0-2. Reed then buried a slider for ball one. On the next pitch, Blash cracked a long, long fly to right, which went foul by maybe a foot, maybe an inch. It was so close that it had to be confirmed by replay review. After that delay, Blash struck out on a high hard fastball. That brought up Matt Szczur, who has broken Met hearts before. On the second pitch to him, he hit a soft liner to Bruce to end it.
It’ll be Seth Lugo vs. Jhoulys Chacin tomorrow night, from sunny San Diego.