BALTIMORE - As the Mets mulled their latest innings-limit plan for Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom went to the mound Tuesday night against the Orioles feeling as unfettered as his flowing locks.
No innings limits exist for deGrom. That's terrific news for the Mets, because at this moment, the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year might be (shush) even better than Harvey.
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DeGrom continued his dominant sophomore season by allowing one run in 72/3 innings to lower his ERA to 1.98 and Curtis Granderson homered twice as the Mets survived a scary ninth inning to snap a three-game skid with a 5-3 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards.
"I feel good," deGrom said. "This is probably the best I've felt -- knock on wood -- in my career. So I'm pretty happy how I feel right now. Hopefully, I don't have an innings limit. But I'm not sure."
The Mets, who during the weekend dropped three in a row to the Pirates at home, enjoyed a home-like atmosphere as many in the crowd of 34,068 were wearing the blue and orange.
DeGrom (12-6) is second in the majors in ERA to Zack Greinke of the Dodgers (1.58). As things stand, that could be your Game 2 matchup in the NLDS at Dodger Stadium.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. The Nationals also won in Colorado late Tuesday night, keeping the Mets' lead at 4 1/2 games in the NL East. Plus, perhaps deGrom would start Game 1 over Harvey.
"He's one of the best in the game right now," manager Terry Collins said of deGrom, who allowed five hits and walked one with six strikeouts. "There's no question . . . He can raise it up. I thought as the game went on, things got better. Another outstanding outing from him."
Perhaps fitting for a deGrom game, things got hairy for the Mets in the ninth thanks to a defensive miscue by Lucas Duda and a bout of wildness from Jeurys Familia.
The Mets were leading 5-1 when Familia replaced Tyler Clippard with two on and one out. Familia struck out Jonathan Schoop for the second out.
Steve Clevenger hit a grounder to second that Duda went too far to his right on. Kelly Johnson fielded it and threw to a retreating Duda, who could not find the bag as Clevenger was safe with what was scored a single.
Familia then walked J.J. Hardy and Henry Urrutia to force in a pair of runs and bring up Manny Machado. Familia got Machado to ground to third for his 33rd save.
"I was happy because we won the game," Familia said. "I was just trying to do the best I can, like always."
The game was delayed 41 minutes before the start as the infield was covered because of the threat of rain. As so often happens, it did not rain.
Granderson led off the game with a homer off Kevin Gausman (2-5), his major-league best seventh leadoff homer, a Mets single-season record. Jose Reyes had six in 2006.
Daniel Murphy sliced a two-out double to left in the third to score Wilmer Flores from first to make it 2-0.
Granderson hit his second home run of the game and 22nd of the season to make it 3-0 in the fifth. The Mets scored a pair of runs in the ninth on Murphy's sacrifice fly and a wild pitch.