EditorsNote: Fix deGrom allowed five hits in 7th graf, changed “walked” to “walks” in 7th graf
Victor Caratini homered twice off reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom to account for all the Cubs’ runs Thursday night as Chicago completed a three-game sweep of the host New York Mets with a 4-1 victory.
The Cubs lengthened their lead to 2 1/2 games over the idle Philadelphia Phillies in the race for the second NL wild card while pulling within 1 1/2 games of the first-place St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
The Mets, who lost the final six games of a nine-game homestand that began with a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians, fell five games behind the Cubs.
Caratini, who is usually the Cubs’ backup catcher, made just his third start of the season at first base as manager Joe Maddon looked to load the lineup with contact hitters against deGrom, who entered Thursday with an NL-high 207 strikeouts.
Caratini produced Chicago’s only baserunner in the first six innings with his game-tying, one-out homer off deGrom in the second.
DeGrom (8-8) retired the next 15 batters before Kris Bryant began the game-winning rally with a one-hop, infield single off the glove of Mets shortstop Amed Rosario in the seventh. Javier Baez followed with a single up the middle before Caratini homered into the second deck in right field, his ninth of the year.
DeGrom then allowed a single to Addison Russell before retiring the next two batters. He wound up allowing four runs on five hits and no walks with seven strikeouts in seven innings.
The start snapped a 17-start streak in which deGrom allowed three runs or fewer, a span in which he produced a 1.88 ERA.
The rally in the seventh made a winner out of Jon Lester (11-9), who allowed one run — J.D. Davis’ homer in the first — on five hits and three walks while striking out four over six innings.
The Mets stranded two runners in each of the first three innings against Lester, who gave up just one hit the rest of the way.
Tyler Chatwood and Brandon Kintzler each tossed a scoreless inning before Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Mets catcher Wilson Ramos had two hits and extended his hitting streak to 22 games, a career best and the longest in the majors this season.
—Field Level Media