DeGrom nets career-best 15th win as Mets maul Braves
ATLANTA — If Jacob deGrom was suffering from a late-season swoon, you’ll have a tough time convincing the Atlanta Braves.
DeGrom, who entered the game 2-6 since late July, put together his second straight solid performance and reached a pair of milestones in the New York Mets’ 7-3 victory over the Braves on Saturday.
“When they scored that second run, I thought maybe we were in trouble the way he was throwing,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.
The right-hander allowed one run over seven innings and recorded his career-best 15th victory as the Mets snapped a five-game losing streak.
“I felt like my mechanics were the closest to where I want them to be and I was able to field some ground balls back to me,” deGrom said. “I wasn’t falling off as much and I think things are starting to fall in place where I want them.”
DeGrom (15-9) gave up five hits, two walks and struck out seven to secure his first win since Aug. 25. His only hiccup was a solo homer to Freddie Freeman, his 27th, who had two of Atlanta’s hits.
“That was tough to hit,” Freeman said. “He had the backdoor slider working, was throwing 97-98-99. It was tough to hit and he was on tonight.”
Over his last two starts, deGrom has allowed three runs in 13 innings with 17 strikeouts.
DeGrom has thrown 195 1/3 innings this season, bettering the 191 he reached in 2015 when he went 14-8.
“It just tells you that he’s very good,” New York manager Terry Collins said. “He works hard at what he does and he wants to be known as one of the best in the game. The only way to do that is to stay out there and pitch a lot of innings.”
The Braves had two real scoring opportunities against deGrom. They had runners on the corners in the first inning with one out and failed to score and had runners and first and second in the seventh when deGrom struck out pinch-hitter Matt Adams to end the threat.
Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless eighth inning, but A.J. Ramos allowed two runs in the ninth. Ramos, who had not pitched since Sept. 8, walked two batters and pinch-hitter Lane Adams drove them both home with a single.
The Mets strung together 11 hits and handed Atlanta starter R.A. Dickey (9-10) his first career loss against his former team. The Mets scored their most runs since Sept. 7 when they beat the Reds 7-2.
“It wasn’t knuckling real good,” Snitker said. “Felt like other than the first inning, he never got in a groove with it.”
Dickey retired the first three batters with fly balls, but threw only one knuckler that inning.
“Tonight was a night when I had a horrible knuckleball and I tried to survive some innings with some conventional pitching,” Dickey said. “I knew it in the first inning. It wasn’t coming out of my hand really well in the bullpen.”
Dickey was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning. He worked five innings and allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks. He failed to record a strikeout for the first time since May 10, 2015.
The New York offense was led by Gavin Cecchini, who had two RBIs and went 3-for-4 for his first multi-hit game of the season. Nori Aoki went 2-for-5 with two doubles and Dominic Smith went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
The Mets scored twice in the second inning after Juan Lagares and Cecchini delivered RBI singles. But the rally was short-circuited when deGrom missed the bunt on a squeeze play and Lagares was easily retired in a rundown. DeGrom then popped out to end the threat.
New York added two more runs in the third inning to take a 4-0 lead on three consecutive doubles from Aoki, Brandon Nimmo and Asdrubal Cabrera.
The Mets scored again in the fourth when Lagares walked and scored on Cecchini’s RBI double. The Mets grabbed more insurance with two more runs in the seventh. Brown doubled home Aoki and Nimmo, but was easily thrown out trying to advance to third base.
NOTES: Atlanta LF Matt Kemp did not start because of a strained hamstring suffered Friday night. Jace Peterson started in his place. ... New York RHP Noah Syndergaard will not return until at least next week. He made a rehab start Thursday and was reassessed Saturday, with team officials saying he needed to face more live pitching. He could be game-ready later next week. ... New York RF Nori Aoki doubled in the third inning and has reached base in 17 consecutive games. ... New York 2B Gavin Cecchini has hit safely in 11 of his 15 starts. ... Atlanta 2B Ozzie Albies had his hitting streak end at 13 games.