SAN FRANCISCO -- Reaffirming his status as one of the National League's elite performers, Jacob deGrom pitched a four-hitter for eight innings Saturday to lead the Mets to a 5-2 victory over the Giants.deGrom (7-3) has worked at least eight innings in three consecutive starts, the first Met to accomplish
SAN FRANCISCO -- Reaffirming his status as one of the National League's elite performers, Jacob deGrom pitched a four-hitter for eight innings Saturday to lead the Mets to a 5-2 victory over the Giants.
deGrom (7-3) has worked at least eight innings in three consecutive starts, the first Met to accomplish this since Johan Santana in August 2010. He lapsed only in the seventh inning, which Brandon Belt christened with a home run. deGrom received support primarily from Wilmer Flores, who homered in the fourth inning and doubled home a run in the eighth.
"That's what I want to do every time out there," deGrom said. "That's what I expect from myself."
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Giants starter Johnny Cueto received a no-decision but pitched magnificently, yielding one run and five hits in seven innings.
"He looked great, didn't he? He was right on with his stuff," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
That wasn't enough to avert San Francisco's 11th loss in 12 games. The Giants (27-50) reached the 50-loss mark by their 77th game only one other time during the modern era (since 1900). That was in 1902.
"I don't think any of us saw this coming, and it's hard to make sense of it, to be honest," Bochy said. "Because we do have a lot of talent here. It just shows you, every year can be different from the year before. Even though you have close to the same players, you need your normal years from your guys, maybe a surprise or two. We haven't quite had that. ... To be honest, it can be embarrassing, 50 losses at this point. The only thing you can do is keep going, keep playing, keep fighting. And that's happening."
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Holding fourth: deGrom faced a mini-jam in the fourth inning when the Giants had runners on the corners with one out. The right-hander asserted himself admirably by striking out Belt and Brandon Crawford back-to-back for two of his seven punchouts.
"He can get a strikeout when he wants. He has that ability," Bochy said of deGrom.
"You face a tough pitcher like that, you hope he just kind of misses his spots and you're able to scratch a few runs and win that way," Belt said.
From a bunt to a big fly: Belt tried to bunt his way aboard in his first at-bat during the second inning but couldn't push the ball past deGrom. Five innings later, Belt felt bold enough to swing away and planted deGrom's first pitch in the left-field seats, briefly tying the score.
"It caught a bit too much of the middle of the plate," deGrom said. "We started a lot of guys off with off-speed, so I think he might have been sitting on it. He still had to hit it, though, so I tip my cap to him."
"Honestly, I never want to pull a ball on the ground like that. But it ended up working out there, finding the outfield, and i was timely."
-- Mets outfielder Jay Bruce, on his go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Finishing 1-for-3 at the plate, deGrom improved his season average to .294, tops among pitchers with at least 30 at-bats. Among pitchers who have batted at least 100 times since deGrom's rookie season in 2014, only Madison Bumgarner, Tyson Ross and the late Jose Fernandez have posted higher averages than deGrom's .204 mark.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Giants went to a replay review on what would have been the final out of the game. A review showed that Belt beat out a ninth-inning throw to first base. Belt later came around to score on Crawford's single.
Mets:Rafael Montero will make his third start of the season in place of injured teammate Zack Wheeler in Sunday's 4:05 p.m. ET finale between the Mets and Giants at AT&T Park. Though Montero is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA as a starter this season, the Mets hope a pair of recent strong relief outings will buoy him to greater success against the Giants.
Giants: Left-hander Matt Moore will attempt to turn his fortunes around when he confronts the Mets in Sunday's 1:05 p.m. PT series finale. Moore's 5.82 ERA is among the highest in the NL. He's also 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA in two lifetime appearances against the Mets.
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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.