NEW YORK -- All season long, Jacob deGrom has been extremely even-keeled, never letting anything get to him. His signature saying after a tough game always resembles something of "controlling what I can control." On Thursday afternoon at Citi Field, in a 3-1 loss to the Giants, the Mets' ace finally showed a bit of frustration, which was reasonable.
With the end of the season slowly approaching, the National League Cy Young Award race is something that can consume the mind of an All-Star caliber pitcher such as deGrom, and with a team like the Mets, whose pennant chances are slim, it becomes an unspoken goal of a team to rally in support of their ace.
"It's probably similar to a no-hitter going into the end of the game," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said before the game. "Everybody kind of knows about it. They don't talk about it very much, but they're aware, so everything's heightened a little bit."
On Thursday, the bar may have been set a little bit higher for deGrom and the Mets. While the game was being played at Citi Field, the two other NL Cy Young Award contenders, the Phillies' Aaron Nola and the Nationals' Max Scherzer, were going head to head at Nationals Park.
While deGrom brought the heat, throwing six innings and giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out 10, his team did not do him any favors.
The Giants' first run came in the third inning, when deGrom walked Steven Duggar, who then stole second and moved to third on a groundout from Joe Panik. Evan Longoria was next up to bat, and he whiffed at a pitch, but catcher Devin Mesoraco, thinking it was a foul tip, saw the ball pass by. Duggar scored on the play, and the run was marked unearned.
• Mesoraco exits game with neck stiffness
deGrom's frustration in the third inning carried over to the fourth, and he seemed to implode after he walked Nick Hundley when he initially was ahead 0-2 on the count. With runners at first and second and two outs, Madison Bumgarner knocked an RBI double that plated Austin Slater. deGrom had words toward home-plate umpire, Tony Randazzo, after the run scored, because he thought he had struck out Hundley in the at-bat before Bumgarner.
"I told him he can't miss it," deGrom said. "I thought it was a strike, and he can't miss that. Nobody's perfect out there, just like we make mistakes and leave balls over the middle, and they get hit. You can't expect them to be perfect."
Mets manager Mickey Callaway was not concerned with deGrom's reaction, and he was pleased with the way his starter settled in and finished out the game.
"I think anytime you give up a run after what you thought was a miscall, you get emotional," Callaway said. "I'm just glad to see the guys have some fire about them."
Todd Frazier attempted to get something going for the Mets, launching a solo home run to left field in the seventh inning. Frazier has 13 RBIs in his past 14 games.
Tyler Bashlor replaced deGrom in the seventh inning and gave up a solo home run to Longoria in the eighth inning, sealing the final score.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
In the seventh inning, with the score at 2-1, Bumgarner fanned Michael Conforto for his seventh strikeout of the game, stranding Jose Bautista at third and ending the inning.
deGrom finished his start Thursday by striking out the side and reached 10 strikeouts for the eighth time this season (four of his last seven outings) and the 29th time of this career.
HE SAID IT
"I got frustrated, which I probably shouldn't have. I probably should've kept my cool a little bit and focused on making the pitch, and I wasn't able to do that." -- deGrom
Jason Vargas looks to lock down his first career win against the Nationals as the Mets open a three-game series on Players' Weekend against their NL East foes at Citi Field on Friday. Vargas has not made a start vs. the Nats since Sept. 26, 2005, with the Marlins. In that outing, he threw seven innings, allowed one run and struck out four. He will oppose Washington southpaw Giovany Gonzalez. First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. ET.