The Mets have all kinds of turmoil and adversity right now but, at least for one night, two core members of this team, ace starter Jacob deGrom and outfielder Michael Conforto, were able to mask some of them.
deGrom was exactly the man New York wanted on the mound tonight, particularly following the disappointing afternoon news that Juan Lagares is likely done for the season with a toe injury. The righty was dominant from the get-go tonight, easily blowing away the Diamondbacks with a pair of strikeouts in the top of the first inning, and his offense was able to get him an early lead just moments later.
On-base machine Brandon Nimmo led off the Mets’ first inning with a walk, and then New York caught a break, something that hasn’t been happening enough lately. Asdrubal Cabrera grounded a ball to the right of shortstop Ketel Marte, who made a nice play getting to the ball and delivering an off balance throw to second baseman Daniel Descalso. Descalso was unable to secure the throw though, allowing it to deflect off his glove and roll into no man’s land in between first and second base, while Nimmo raced all the way to third. Wilmer Flores then plated the first run of the game with an RBI ground out and, after Jay Bruce struck out swinging on a nasty curveball from Arizona starter Zack Godley, Conforto delivered a huge two-out hit to put the Mets up 2-0. A few hours later we would learn that would be all New York would need to support deGrom who was simply brilliant.
Diamondbacks’ catcher Alex Avila led off the third with a single for Arizona’s first base-runner, but deGrom easily retired the next three to end the inning, and then went out and struck out the side against the heart of the Snakes’ order in the fourth. In the fifth, Arizona mounted a little bit of a threat as they were able to scratch out two singles, but deGrom was able to get out of it unscathed once again by striking out three in the frame. The home team was able to extend their lead in the bottom of that inning.
After Godley had retired the first two Mets, Flores ripped a double down the left field line and Bruce followed with a long at-bat that resulted in a walk, giving Conforto another RBI opportunity. The young left-handed hitter took full advantage, lacing a single into right field for his third hit of the night, scoring Flores and extending his team’s lead.
Arizona was able to score their only run of the game in the sixth on a double from Jake Lamb, who then proceeded to run the Diamondbacks out of a potential big inning by getting thrown out at third on the play. Still leading 3-1, it was somewhat surprising to see deGrom still on the mound in the sixth, a move that appeared may backfire on manage Mickey Callaway when Descalso led off the frame with a double. deGrom had one more escape left in him though, as he got the next three, including his career high matching 13th strikeout, to send the game into the seventh inning stretch with the home team still up two. Robert Gsellman and Jeurys Familia easily retired the Diamondbacks in order in the eighth and ninth innings respectively to secure an important series opening win for New York who will try to win a second straight from Arizona today behind lefty Steven Matz.
Photo credit: Gregory Fisher – USA Today Sports