NEW YORK (AP) — Jacob deGrom has had precious little margin for error even while having the best ERA in the majors. Finally, on Wednesday, he got the run support he needed.
DeGrom struck out 10 over six innings, received rare significant run support and earned his first win in nearly two months as the New York Mets blanked the Cincinnati Reds 8-0.
“Almost every game he’s pitched in, one pitch can cost him the game,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “So I feel like all of those are stressful innings.
“Jacob is so relaxed, he might not feel the stress of those, but I would have to think every time a runner gets in scoring position or every time a home run hitter gets up that he steps on the gas a tad more to make sure he doesn’t even give up one run.”
Brandon Nimmo tied a team record with three doubles and drove in three runs as the Mets won for the 22nd time in their last 66 games.
DeGrom (6-7) ended a seven-start winless streak, allowing four hits in a 100-pitch outing and lowering his ERA from 1.85 to 1.77. He won for the first time since June 18 at Colorado, where the Mets scored 12 runs.
It was his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season and 27th of his career. His first nine strikeouts were on change-ups and fastballs, and deGrom used his curveball to fan Scooter Gennett to end the sixth.
“When I go out there, I don’t want anybody to score,” deGrom said. “I don’t like giving up runs whether it’s 8-0 or 0-0, and that’s how I approach this year, go out there and keep guys from getting around the bases.”
DeGrom allowed one earned or fewer for the 13th time this season, tying him with Justin Verlander, Blake Snell and Chris Sale for the major league lead. He held an opponent under three runs for the 20th straight time.
“He’s definitely one of the best in the game,” Gennett said. “His numbers show it.”
He was 0-5 with a 2.47 ERA during the winless skid, with the Mets giving deGrom a combined eight runs in those games.
They scored plenty on Wednesday for deGrom, who helped himself with an RBI walk in the fourth. It was the second straight outing he drove in a run.
Austin Jackson drove in two runs with a double in the second and a single in the fifth as the Mets built a 5-0 lead. Nimmo hit an RBI double in the fifth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Amed Rosario in the fourth.
Nimmo also added a two-run double in the eighth and Jackson capped the scoring with a single.
Rosario’s sacrifice fly came after deGrom drove in his third run of the season and 15th of his career. With runners at second and third, the Reds intentionally walked Devin Mesoraco, but starter Robert Stephenson (0-1) threw four straight pitches out of the strike zone.
“I wanted to throw just whatever I could throw for a strike, and that at-bat, I wasn’t able to throw any for a strike,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson made his season debut for the Reds after going 6-0 in his last seven starts for Triple-A Louisville. The former first-round pick allowed three runs on three hits in four innings.
The Reds wound up moving left fielder Phillip Ervin to the mound to finish the eighth.
Seth Lugo, Jerry Blevins, and Robert Gsellman each pitched a scoreless inning for the Mets.
Nimmo’s three doubles marked the 29th time in team history it happened and the first since Yoenis Cespedes on Aug. 3, 2015, at Miami. … 3B Jose Bautista scored his 1,000th run in the fourth inning, becoming the 10th active player to reach the milestone.
GOOD HITTING PITCHER
When the Reds wanted to bat for Stephenson, they didn’t turn to their bench. Instead, they went to their pitching staff, sending out Michael Lorenzen. Lorenzen hit a 324-foot fly ball to left right field, lowering his average from .267 to .250. It was the fourth time he pinch hit and stayed in the game.
Reds: 1B Joey Votto (right knee) missed his second straight game and sat out for the third time in four games. Votto was hit by a pitch by Washington RHP Ryan Madson and missed his 10th game since the start of the 2015 season. Manager Jim Riggleman said Votto is feeling better and that the slugger will play Friday. OF Preston Tucker (toe) did not play for the second straight game. He was hit on the right foot by RHP Noah Syndergaard’s slider on Monday. Riggleman said Tucker’s foot is still sore and he will consult with trainers and undergo tests during Thursday’s off day.
Mets: C Devin Mesoraco was hit in the groin while attempting to catch a deGrom pitch in the first inning but stayed in the game.
Reds: After a day off, RHP Anthony DeScalfani (6-5, 4.98 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game series against Arizona on Friday.
Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler (6-6, 3.89 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Miami on Friday. Wheeler is 4-0 with a 2.17 ERA in his last seven starts.