PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies tried everything to crack Jacob deGrom on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. They took their usual patient approach and watched the first pitch sail by in 13 of their first 14 plate appearances. They came out swinging in the fifth, with Maikel Franco and Scott Kingery resorting to early swings, but that resulted in a 1-2-3 inning. They found hope with two hits in a seventh-inning rally, but Odubel Herrera's latest baserunning blunder cut that short, too.
Nothing -- not even a 41-minute gift of a rain delay -- worked against the Mets' ace, and the Phillies will have to save reclaiming first place in the National League East for another day after a 3-1 loss to the Mets.
"He was an animal out there," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.
deGrom spaced seven hits across his third career complete game. He struck out nine and walked none. The leadoff single he allowed in the ninth was immediately erased with a double play, and his 108th and final pitch was his fastest of the night, a 99.1-mph fastball to get Nick Williams to ground out to end the game.
The Phillies scored their lone, unearned run on a botched double play that would have ended the seventh inning had it been properly completed at first base.
"I guess that's why he has a sub-two ERA," Williams said.
The loss overshadowed a fine outing from Jacob Arrieta, who allowed four hits and one run over six innings. He walked none, hit a batter and struck out six. An errant pickoff attempt put Jeff McNeil on third base after a leadoff single in the fourth inning, and Wilmer Flores plated McNeil with a single on the next pitch.
That was it, as Kapler lifted Arrieta for pinch-hitter Roman Quinn in the bottom of the sixth. The Phillies needed runs.
"We're always going to do everything we can," Kapler said. "We're going to look under every stone for an advantage or a possibility to do something a little different to look for any sort of tells. [deGrom] is kind of that good."
Sometimes, Arrieta said, that is what it comes down to. He'd rather not have it happen against his team, but as a former Cy Young Award winner, he appreciates watching someone who's gunning for the award himself.
"Hopefully, he does it against the Braves a couple times for us," Arrieta said. "Or at least once."
Luis Garcia was the first out of the bullpen for the Phillies. He allowed two runs in the seventh, including a home run to Devin Mesoraco. Edubray Ramos and Hector Neris threw the final two scoreless frames
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rhys Hoskins looped a two-out double down the right-field line in the sixth, giving an RBI chance to Carlos Santana. The Phillies contingent in the crowd reached its highest volume to that point as Santana worked a full count. But he couldn't get piece of a 93.8-mph slider from deGrom, and the Phillies left the frame still scoreless.
"He didn't really give us a chance to work our deeper counts like we set out to do," Kapler said. "He kind of just attacked the strike zone and attacked with a fastball-slider combination that was pretty live."
The Phillies will need to play well against the NL East, as 29 of their remaining 39 games are against divisional foes. Arrieta has posted a 0.95 ERA in his last six starts against those teams (four earned runs, 38 innings).
HE SAID IT
"I thought long and hard about [Justin] Bour and him starting today. I had the conversation with Justin as well. I said, 'Look, I really wanted to find a way to get you in there today.' But with Jake Arrieta on the mound, it's very important that we put our best defensive infield out there. We want to give him every chance because we know that with the high ground-ball rate, we know that he is going to induce a lot of ground balls. We know that we're going to need to play sound defense behind him, and Carlos is a very, very good defensive first baseman." -- Kapler, on his decision not to start Bour, who in his career is 8-for-22 with two home runs against deGrom
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Herrera hit into what would have been an inning-ending double play in the seventh. The relay from shortstop Amed Rosario, however, sailed past deGrom, who was covering first base. Herrera initially turned toward second base, but once he realized deGrom already had a handle on the ball in foul territory, slid head-first into first base. He was called safe. The Mets challenged, and replay showed Herrera was tagged out. The inning ended, although Nick Williams did score on the play.
Herrera admitted his mistake after the game and said he did know that he had turned toward second base.
"I went and had that conversation with Odubel and just reminded him that what we teach there is sprint through the bag, break down right away and find the baseball," Kapler said. "... It's a correction that he's prepared to make, and we trust that the next time that happens, he'll make the best decision for the club."
EICKHOFF TO REHAB
Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, who hasn't pitched in the Majors all season because of a tingling sensation in his pitching fingers, was in Philadelphia on Saturday after throwing three August rehab starts with Class A Advanced Clearwater. He will pitch for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sunday with hopes of throwing about 75 pitches. Should his rehab continue to progress, Eickhoff could be an experienced September addition.
The Phillies and Mets fly to Williamsport, Pa., to finish a five-game set with the second annual Little League Classic at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field at 7:10 p.m. ET Sunday night. Nick Pivetta (7-9, 4.37 ERA) -- who has gone six innings in each of his last three starts while allowing a total of just three runs -- will start for Philadelphia. New York will have left-hander Jason Vargas (2-8, 8.10 ERA) on the mound.