Jacob deGrom was pulled from a do-it-all gem with right flexor tendinitis, a troubling diagnosis for the New York Mets that clouded a 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on Friday night.
DeGrom (6-2) faced the minimum over six innings and ripped a two-run single, giving him five RBIs this season — compared to four earned runs allowed. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner’s 0.56 ERA is the lowest ever by a pitcher through 10 starts, just ahead of Juan Marichal’s 0.59 in 1966.
DeGrom left after 80 pitches and extending his scoreless streak to 22 innings, shaking hands with manager Luis Rojas in the dugout after getting through the sixth. New York announced his injury two innings later.
But after the game, deGrom gave an optimistic outlook about the injury, saying he believes he could end up not missing any time.
"I felt it this week in-between. I’m not too concerned about it because it didn’t get much worse as the game went on," deGrom said. "But there in … the sixth inning when I was trying to loosen up, I could feel it and it was starting to tighten up a little bit."
"I’ve had a couple elbow issues before and I know what that feels like, so my level of concern is not too high. I’m pretty optimistic about it and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be something that we can treat and hopefully not miss any time."
Facing San Diego and star slugger Fernando Tatis Jr. for the second time in six days, deGrom had a no-hit bid until Wil Myers beat the shift with a weak grounder in the fifth. Myers was caught stealing by catcher James McCann a few pitches later.
He was the only runner to reach against deGrom, who struck out 10 despite the abbreviated outing. New York has been limiting his workload since an injured list stint in May with right side tightness. The 32-year-old deGrom had Tommy John surgery as a minor leaguer in 2010.
Billy McKinney drove in a run with the first of his two doubles in the fifth, and deGrom followed with his two-run hit.
DeGrom won a third straight start in the same season for the first time since August 2018.
San Diego dropped its third straight. Blake Snell (2-3) allowed three runs in four-plus innings, and the Padres couldn't do enough damage against New York's bullpen.
Right-hander Miguel Castro replaced deGrom for the seventh and allowed a double by Tatis and a two-run homer by Jake Cronenworth before exiting with neck stiffness.
Aaron Loup took the mound in the eighth but left with two outs after being hit in the chest by a comebacker. Closer Edwin Díaz got the last out and three more in the ninth — including Tatis' third strikeout of the game — for his 11th save. New York moved seven games over .500 for the first time tis season.
In the fifth, the left-hitting deGrom faked a bunt and nearly swung out of his shoes on Snell's first offering with runners at first and second and no outs, but he missed. Snell balked before the next pitch, advancing McKinney and Jose Peraza. That allowed them to score easily when deGrom laced a single toward left-center field.
That was the final pitch for Snell, who took a no-hitter into the seventh against New York in his previous outing. Despite stranding the bases loaded in the fourth with an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play, he left trailing 3-0 — the Padres have scored three runs or fewer in all 13 of the left-hander’s starts.
The Mets increased capacity with virus protocols easing, and roughly 26,637 came to Queens ready to cheer for their ace. DeGrom was showered with “MVP” chants before the game, then again after striking out Tatis — a potential competitor for the award — in the first inning.
The chants returned when deGrom punched out Tatis again in the fourth — part of a stretch when he struck out five of six — and peaked after his hit in the fifth.
Over the past two starts against the star-studded Padres, deGrom has thrown 13 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk with 21 strikeouts.
He entered the game with 121 pitches this season thrown 100 mph or harder, and he topped that mark seven more times. No other starter had more than 10 such pitches before Friday.
DeGrom got his 100th strikeout when Tatis went down swinging in the fourth, reaching the mark in 61 2/3 innings — the fewest innings to reach 100 punchouts in a season since the mound was moved to 60 feet, six inches in 1893, per ESPN.
McKinney had two hits and improved to 13 for 43 with five doubles and 12 RBIs since being acquired by New York on May 26.
Mets left-hander Aaron Loup also left with an apparent injury after taking a line drive to the chest in the eighth inning.
Saturday at 4:10 The Mets will go for the series win as Padres RHP Joe Musgrove (4-5, 2.33) faces Mets RHP Marcus Stroman (5-4, 2.41) in a showdown of veteran pitchers who are currently with their hometown teams.