The fastball crackled at 100 mph or better. The slider left hitters reaching and diving. A handful of curveballs and changeups left batters baffled.
Mets fans once were used to watching two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom regularly dominate opposing lineups the way he did Saturday night. It may be time to get used to it again now that he finally is healthy and back in the rotation.
DeGrom allowed two hits, didn’t issue a walk and struck out 10 in six innings as the Mets beat the Phillies, 1-0, before a sellout crowd of 43,857, the largest to see a game this season at Citi Field.
DeGrom, Seth Lugo, Trevor May and Edwin Diaz combined on a three-hit shutout, with Diaz picking up his 200th career save.
Manager Buck Showalter called the Phillies “a team at the top of their game” and said, “We knew coming in how good their starting pitching has been . . . and that runs would be at a premium.”
The Mets have won seven of eight and 16 of 19 and can take this series with a win Sunday.
DeGrom (2-0) made his third start after missing more than a year with various injuries, including a stress reaction in his right shoulder blade. The Mets needed every ounce of what he gave them against the Phillies and starter Aaron Nola (8-9), who allowed a run, four hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in eight innings.
DeGrom said that during his rehab, he made adjustments to his mechanics and said it “seems to have paid off a little bit and [I’m] able to come back close to where I feel like I left off.”
In his three starts, deGrom has pitched 16 2⁄3 innings to a 1.62 ERA with 28 strikeouts, issuing only a single walk.
The Mets scored in the first inning as Starling Marte forced things with his baserunning. The rightfielder laced a one-out single to right, stole second on a third-strike pitch to Francisco Lindor and took third when J.T. Realmuto’s throw went into centerfield for an error. Pete Alonso brought him home with a single to right for his 97th RBI.
Alonso entered the game batting .351 in 37 at-bats against Nola. “He didn’t really make too many other mistakes tonight, so I was happy I could capitalize when I got one,” Alonso said.
After deGrom’s exit, Lugo allowed a single in the seventh and May — in his highest-leverage situation since returning from a stress reaction in his right humerus bone on Aug. 3 — set down the side in order in the eighth.
Diaz notched his 27th save, though he did issue a pair of walks. He won a seven-pitch battle against Nick Castellanos for the game-ending strikeout with runners at second and third.
There also was good news on the two Mets injured on Friday. Jeff McNeil suffered a cut across his right thumb that required two stitches to close but was back in the lineup and playing second base. Third baseman Eduardo Escobar, who left with tightness in his left side, didn’t play, but Showalter called him “an option” for Saturday’s game.
DeGrom threw 76 pitches in this effort, the same number he threw last time, when he took a perfect game into the sixth against Atlanta before allowing a two-run homer. Showalter said the decision to remove him was made because this outing was on five days’ rest and his next two will be on four.
“We’re trying to build up pitches in the [majors], which is more high stress,” deGrom said. “You don’t want to do anything to jeopardize being here for the push we go on and hopefully into the World Series.”