Saturday provided more evidence that Jacob deGrom should never come to work when sick again.
After pitching through an illness in his previous start, deGrom was back to his usual healthy, Cy Young Award-looking self Saturday. But his performance was wasted as the Mets fell to the Red Sox, 3-1.
The reigning National League Rookie of the Year was coming off the shortest outing of his career, one in which he lasted only 2 2/3 innings and allowed a career-high seven runs against the Phillies on Monday.
DeGrom was perfect through three innings Saturday and didn't allow a hit until Brock Holt sent a chopper up the middle to lead off the fifth. His fastball, with late movement, consistently ranged between 95 and 97 mph and he went to his changeup more than usual.
"I felt good today," said deGrom, who allowed two runs, four hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts in six innings. "Especially early on."
That changed somewhat when Pablo Sandoval lined deGrom's fastball into the gap in right-center for an RBI double that gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the sixth.
With runners at the corners and one out, Holt hit a soft one-hopper to Daniel Murphy at first. Instead of coming home, Murphy threw to second to attempt a double play, but Holt easily beat the throw to first, allowing Sandoval to score for a 2-0 lead.
With runners again on first and third, deGrom fanned Jackie Bradley Jr. for his 10th strikeout on his 109th and final pitch. It was his fifth double-digit strikeout performances of the season.
"He felt good," Terry Collins said. "Just gave up a couple of runs and got his pitch count up to the point we had to make a switch. But he threw the ball good."
DeGrom (12-7, 2.32) said one of the reasons he struggled in Philadelphia was because his fastball stayed flat in the strike zone.
"So we worked on that in between that start and this start," he said, "and it made a big difference."
As did his health.