Jacob deGrom won his fifth straight start on Friday night, but not before surrendering a medley of long balls.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, deGrom turned his attention to right field as he watched a ball off the bat of Cardinals infielder Jedd Gyorko sail into the stands.
It was the fourth home run of the night allowed by deGrom and knotted up the game at four.
Thankfully for the right-hander, the dingers were each solo shots, which kept the team, and him, in the game.
“This is a tough place. This is a town where a lot of times it’s hot and humid and the ball doesn’t usually carry, carrying like crazy,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “I know there is nothing with the ball, it’s the same ball we’re always using, but we’ve got to get the bats checked because the ball is flying.”
Four home runs allowed was a career high for deGrom, but the tides changed after Gyorko’s shot as the 29-year-old rebounded to finish off seven innings.
With the righty being snubbed from the 2017 National League All-Star team due in part to back-to-back gruesome starts on May 31 and June 6 where deGrom allowed a combined 15 runs in just eight innings, he made sure tonight was different.
DeGrom allowed the four runs on eight hits, while striking out five and yielding zero walks en route to the ninth win on the season.
The sets of back-to-back jacks in the third and fourth innings didn’t deter the fourth-year veteran from going into the upcoming All-Star break on a high note, whether he would appear in Miami or not.
“Our guys kept putting up runs for me. They’d give me lead and I’d give it up and they’d give me another lead. It was time to figure things out,” deGrom said. “A couple of those balls, I am not sure they should have gone out, but whatever.”
Whether it’s the Smoltz method or an “I’ll show you!” for being left off the All-Star team, deGrom labored through and gave the Mets a much needed victory after a rocky start, its first in three games.
Even still, the four home runs allowed tonight increased deGrom’s total for the season to 17 — one more than his career high of 16 in 2015.
While Collins is right that the balls are flying, deGrom fell victim to the trend all around baseball that is the uptick of the longball.
Thankfully for him, it was the long ball on the Mets end that allowed them to pull out a victory.
While it wasn’t a pretty win for deGrom, it encapsulated what an ace does.
You aren’t going to have your A-game 100 percent of the time no matter who you are.
What is important is that deGrom mitigated the damage, collected himself and went out there and fired three more scoreless innings after the home run from Gyorko.
Though not as seamless as his previous four outings, a win is a win and deGrom keeping us in the game despite allowing four home runs was huge.