Jacob deGrom lowered his ERA ever-so-slightly from 1.78 to 1.77 with a strong seven-inning outing in Nationals Park, holding Washington’s hitters to one run on three hits and the New York Mets’ ace and 2018 Cy Young contender extended his streak of outings in which he’s allowed three earned runs or fewer to 28-straight in what ended up a 4-2 win.
Ross vs Mets: Joe Ross got his official return to the majors following Tommy John surgery out of the way last Thursday, after a previous outing was wiped out by rain five outs in. It was a relatively brief five-inning outing against the Chicago Cubs, but it was the end of a year-plus of work for the 25-year-old right-hander, who was happy with the results, with a couple of reservations.
“I would have liked to go deeper in the game,” Ross told MLB.com, “... but unfortunately, I wasn’t getting ahead in certain situations.
“Hopefully next time, I can get ahead a little bit better and pitch deeper in the game.”
His second outing of the season started with a double to center field by Amed Rosario on the first pitch Ross threw.
Two outs later, the Mets’ first runner to reach base came around to score when Jay Bruce punched an RBI single into short left on a 2-2 changeup, 1-0.
Michael Conforto and Bruce hit back-to-back, one-out doubles in the third, Conforto on a 1-1 fastball and Bruce on a 3-2 sinker, as the visiting team retook the lead a half-inning after the Nationals tied it up, 2-1, and Bruce took third on a groundout by Brandon Nimmo and scored on an RBI single to right by Dominic Smith, 3-1.
Devin Mesoraco doubled to drive Smith in for the fourth run of the game after Todd Frazier reached on an error by Anthony Rendon, but Frazier was thrown out at home for out No. 3, 4-1 Mets.
Ross retired 9 of 11 as he held the Mets there through six and was done for the night having thrown 95 pitches overall.
Joe Ross’s Line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 95 P, 65 S, 9/3 GO/FO.
deGrom vs the Nationals: In two starts against the Nationals before tonight, NL Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom was (1-0) with a 2.70 ERA, four walks, 17 Ks, and a .208/.269/.313 line against in 13 1⁄3 IP.
On the season, the Mets’ ace was (8-9) with a 1.78 ERA, a 2.05 FIP, 45 walks (2.00 BB/9), 251 Ks (11.18 K/9), and a .200/.252/.288 line against in 30 starts and 202 IP.
Heading into the outing, the Mets noted, “... deGrom had held opponents to three runs or [fewer] in 27 straight starts, the longest single-season streak in major league history,” and the righty led the majors with his 1.78 ERA, led major league pitchers in WAR (8.0 fWAR), in FIP (2.05), in opponent’s slugging percentage (.288), and he led the NL in HR/9 (0.45), and was second in the NL and fourth in the majors in strikeouts (251).
deGrom issued a leadoff walk to Anthony Rendon in the bottom of the second tonight, and gave up a hard-hit single to right by Juan Soto on a 3-2 fastball that sent Rendon around to third before Ryan Zimmerman drove him in with a sac fly to center that tied things up at 1-1 after the Mets jumped out to an early lead.
All tied up! Zim's sac fly brings home Rendon, and we're knotted up at 1-1. pic.twitter.com/7KwsikqFDx— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) September 21, 2018
Given a 4-1 lead to work with in the top of the third, deGrom settled in and retired 15 of 17 batters to get through seven innings as he extended his streak of starts with three or fewer runs allowed to 28-straight.
Jacob deGrom’s Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 98 P, 64 S, 9/2 GO/FO. ERA down to 1.77.
Rend-on-base streak: Anthony Rendon homered in the series opener with the Mets to extend his on-base streak to 28-straight games, over which the 28-year-old Nats’ third baseman had a .345/.427/.602 line, with 11 doubles, six home runs, 16 walks, and 14 Ks.
Rendon extended the streak with a leadoff walk in the top of the second inning tonight, then took third on a Juan Soto single, before scoring the Nationals’ first run of the night when Ryan Zimmerman hit a sac fly to center field that tied it up at 1-1.
Trea Turner doubled in the ninth to extend his own on-base streak to 21-straight games.
BULLPEN ACTION: Tim Collins took over for Joe Ross in the top of the seventh, and worked around a one-out walk for a scoreless, 19-pitch frame.
Jimmy Cordero needed 17 pitches to get through a quick, scoreless top of the eighth.
Seth Lugo gave up a one-out walk by Spencer Kieboom and a single by Andrew Stevenson, but Victor Robles sent a grounder to third in the next at bat that started an inning-ending 5-4-5 DP with Kieboom caught up between second and third as Frazier threw to second for a force and caught the return throw before tagging the Nationals’ catcher to complete the DP.
Austen Williams tossed a scoreless top of the ninth.
Robert Gsellman gave up a leadoff double to right by Trea Turner but Bryce Harper flew out to the wall in left where Michael Conforto made a leaping catch. Anthony Rendon was able to bring Turner around, however, with a one-out RBI single, 4-2.
Juan Soto went down swinging for out No. 2, and Ryan Zimmerman sent a fly to right to end it.
Final Score: 4-2 Mets
Nationals now 77-77