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Mets’ bats bail out Jacob deGrom in win over Braves

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom works

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom works against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, in Atlanta. Photo Credit: AP / John Bazemore

ATLANTA — The Mets entered a bizarro world in Wednesday night’s 16-5 thumping of the Braves, in which their suddenly surging lineup bailed out another mediocre starting pitching effort.

That Jacob deGrom rarely looked comfortable in a five-inning slog was reduced to a footnote by an offense that set a season high in runs (16) and hits (20), while collecting nine doubles, one short of tying the franchise record.

Even with Yoenis Cespedes sidelined with an injury, the Mets have scored at least five runs in seven straight games, powered by the emergence of a trio of struggling veterans that had been a drag on the lineup.

Jose Reyes equaled a career high with five RBIs, Neil Walker knocked in a run and collected a pair of hits, and Curtis Granderson ripped a pair of doubles.

“Just trying to get that feel back,” said Granderson, who has benefitted from extra batting practice in recent days.

The Mets (11-15) improved to 4-2 on what has been a tumultuous road trip. Despite losing Noah Syndergaard to a lat injury, watching the starting rotation get battered, and getting embarrassed in a 23-5 rout to the Nationals, the Mets ensured that they will finish the stretch with a winning record.

DeGrom permitted a parade of baserunners in what was easily his worst start of the season. He failed to command his slider, part of the reason he allowed a season-high five runs and gave up eight hits.

For the second time in three starts, deGrom walked five batters. His ERA rose from 2.84 to 3.68. Yet, he departed in line for the victory, his team ahead 9-5 after tagging former teammate Bartolo Colon for five runs in four innings.

“That’s not a real good effort by me tonight, but these guys picked me up,” said deGrom, who had two hits and drove in two runs. “The most important thing is we got a win.”

Rene Rivera drove in three runs and Michael Conforto knocked in a pair. But it was Granderson’s performance that carried the most weight moving forward.

He began the day as the worst hitter in all of baseball. His .122 average ranked last among all qualifiers by 31 points, his on-base percentage of .175 the lowest by 39 points. He was benched on Tuesday, which he spent taking extra batting practice.

On the Mets’ road trip, Granderson had fallen to 0-for-16, including a pop-up in second inning. But he laced a run-scoring double in the third, his first hit since April 27, and hit another double in the fifth. The production came after he had fallen to 1-for-30 in his last nine games, spurring questions about whether his days as an everyday player might be nearing an end.

Reyes, who faced similar questions, cleared the bases with a three-run double in a seven-run eighth.

The awakening helped cover a pair of baserunning blunders that short-circuited rallies. Walker lost count of the outs and got doubled off in the first. In the third, Reyes did not pay attention as he retreated to second base on a flyout to right. Shortstop Dansby Swanson noticed the lack of focus, tagging a stunned Reyes.

He made up for it. Reyes recorded his first five RBI game since 2003. It came on a night in which the homer-dependent Mets didn’t need to leave the yard to pound the Braves.

The Mets finished 12-for-20 with runners in scoring position, their most hits in a game in those situations sine 2010.

Said Reyes: “You have a game like that, without hitting a homer, that’s a good feeling.”

New York Sports