Jacob deGrom rubbed up a new baseball and let out a big breath. He had just allowed his third home run, and the second to Mark Teixeira.
An 11-game winning streak was officially in trouble.
That feeling soon swept through the Mets' dugout as well. The Yankees already had done all their damage in the Mets' 6-1 loss on Friday night, and frustration seeped out.
"Make the adjustment!" Jonathon Niese shouted to plate umpire Doug Eddings, who warned the pitcher that he would not tolerate another word.
So Niese defiantly repeated his demand, earning himself a sixth-inning ejection in the process. Asked if he had uttered a swear word, Niese said, "I plead the Fifth."
He later added, "I was just trying to back up my team."
Words alone wouldn't do the job, of course.
The Mets had not lost since April 11. It was only the fourth time in franchise history that a winning streak had reached those heights. Not since 1990 had the Mets hit a stride quite like this.
Starting pitching had brought them to that Eden, and starting pitching would get them expelled. Nobody saw it coming, not with deGrom on the hill.
"I just had a tough time throwing the ball where I wanted to," said deGrom, the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year, who endured one of the worst outings of his young career.
Entering his start, deGrom's 0.93 ERA was the lowest among the team's starters. His scoreless-innings streak had reached a career-best 181/3.
By the end of it, he had allowed six runs and eight hits. He battled his command, striking out two and walking two. He lasted only five innings, tied for the second shortest of his 16 big-league starts.
On a night when his ERA jumped to 2.96, deGrom tied career worsts in runs allowed (six) and homers (three).
"They were over the middle of the plate," said deGrom, who added that some extra adrenaline might have robbed him of his command.
Perhaps the only thing that went right for the Mets came in the seventh, when 24-year-old righthander Hansel Robles escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam to throw a scoreless inning in his big-league debut. By then, the game was out of hand.
Soon, the Mets' longest winning streak in 25 years was dead.
"Hopefully, it won't be the last time we get a chance to enjoy winning often," said Curtis Granderson, who had two of the Mets' five hits.
Throughout their magical run, the Mets looked for lasting meaning in a streak that they knew eventually would end. But Friday night, Michael Cuddyer found greater relevance in the present.
"It's just one loss," he said. "We're still 13-4."
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