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NEW YORK -- Jacob deGrom came back to the dugout after the eighth inning Monday night and told Terry Collins he wanted to finish the game. The Mets' manager said nothing.
"That's when I knew I was going back out," deGrom said.
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deGrom threw his second career complete game, getting plenty of offensive support from Asdrubal Cabrera, who hit a pair of leadoff home runs, in the Mets' 6-1 victory over the Cubs at Citi Field. Jay Bruce added a two-run homer for the Mets.
deGrom (ninth round, 2010 Draft, Stetson), who ranks among the top seven National League pitchers in strikeouts, also got some help from his infielders, who turned four double plays. The Mets right-hander notched his first complete game since last July 17 against the Phillies. He gave up five hits, including Addison Russell's second home run in as many games, a solo shot with two outs in the Chicago seventh. deGrom had given up 15 runs over eight innings in his last two starts, and, obviously, didn't finish either.
"The last two, I got my teeth kicked in," deGrom said. "These other guys have done a good job. I think it all evens out. You have some good ones, you have some bad ones. I think just being able to take the ball and forget about the bad ones helps."
For Collins, he saw a return to the dominant form he knows deGrom is capable of.
"He mixed his pitches tonight," Collins said "That's the guy we know, who was in there."
The Cubs' John Lackey (second-round pick, 1999 Draft, Grayson College) has had some issues with home runs this season, and the Mets made him pay. Cabrera led off the second with his fifth homer, launching a 2-1 pitch from Lackey into the Mets' bullpen in center field. With one on in the third, Bruce (12th overall pick, 2005 Draft, West Brook HS in Texas) belted his 17th homer to open a 3-0 lead, and Cabrera opened the fourth with his sixth homer.
It was Cabrera's sixth career multi-homer game and first since last August against the Phillies.
Lackey now has served up 19 homers this season, second most in the NL. The right-hander gave up 23 last season. It was his fourth straight loss, and he's given up 21 earned runs and nine home runs over 28 innings in that stretch.
"I definitely didn't feel great today," Lackey said. "I kind of battled through it, left a couple pitches over the plate. Need to pitch better. Their guy pitched really good."
The Cubs lost for the fifth time in their last six games, and dropped to 11-17 on the road.
"I see a team that's continuing to work hard," Russell said. "I know things aren't going our way right now, but it's just a matter of time before we click as far as pitching and hitting. ... I think it's just a matter of time before we get [everything] rolling at once."
Don't try to compare the 2017 Cubs with last year's team.
"You guys like to compare," Lackey said to the media. "We don't have to be last year's team. We just have to be better than the teams in [our division]."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Double or nothing: The Cubs got runners on base but couldn't do anything. The Mets' snuffed out potential rallies in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings with double plays. Chicago began the day ranked last in the NL with runners in scoring position, and went 0-for-5.
"The frustrating part is that we're not -- as a group, starting pitching -- [performing] as well as we can and hitting as well as we can," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It's not complicated."
A little of everything: The Cubs' Jason Heyward (14th overall pick, 2007 Draft, Henry County HS in Georgia) had an interesting game. He robbed Neil Walker of a potential extra-base hit with a leaping catch in center for the second out in the Mets' first. Heyward also reached on an error by Cabrera to open the second but was stranded and, in the fourth, he singled to center, the ball ricocheting off the second base bag into right field.
"We can't keep using that as an excuse that the other team's pitcher is good. We've got to start beating some better pitchers, period. You don't get to the promised land winning games like that -- 3-2, 4-3. Obviously, the double play hurt us. [deGrom] was good, but at some point we have to start figuring out how to put some things together to beat those guys." -- Maddon
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
At 109.5 mph, Bruce's home run was his hardest-hit home run of the Statcast™ Era. Meanwhile, his double to right in the sixth off Brian Duensing, despite leaving the bat at 91.2 mph and travelling 335 feet, had a hit probability of only 11 percent.
FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
• Michael Conforto (No. 10 overall, 2014 Draft, Oregon State University) was scratched from the Mets' lineup Monday because of back stiffness. Collins said there was no concern about the issue lingering.
"I really think it was the heat in Atlanta," Collins said. "He played the doubleheader, which is tough for anybody. Then he comes back the next day and has a day game -- a little stiff. Obviously, the plane ride doesn't help."
After the game, Collins revealed that Conforto was not available to pinch-hit, and his status for Tuesday's game will be determined when he arrives at the ballpark before the game.
• The Mets' Yoenis Cespedes left Monday's game after five innings with a sore left heel.
With one out in the Cubs' seventh, Javier Baez was called safe on an infield single despite a strong throw from Cabrera at shortstop. The Mets challenged the ruling, and after a review, the call was overturned and Baez was out.
Cubs:Jonathan Lester (second round, 2002 Draft, Bellarmine HS in Washington) will make his 14th start of the season and sixth on the road on Tuesday. The road hasn't been kind to the lefty, who is 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA away from Wrigley Field and 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA at home. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT.
Mets:Zack Wheeler (No. 6 overall pick, 2009 Draft, East Paulding HS in Georgia) takes the mound for the second game of a three-game set. He has allowed just 11 runs over his last 41 innings and boasts a 2.41 ERA since April 29. The right-hander has a 2.60 ERA at home over his last three starts at Citi Field. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET.
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