PHOENIX -- For six innings Saturday night, Jacob deGrom felt the best he has this season. Yet, by the time the Mets’ ace faced the media after a 6-5, 11-inning loss to the D-backs, he was mostly frustrated.
Not just with New York’s loss, but with the fact that he couldn’t successfully lobby to stay in the game after a right hip cramp he experienced in the seventh had dissipated. deGrom tossed 6 2/3 terrific innings, but he gave up his only run in the seventh and exited with two runners on after twice being checked by Mets manager Mickey Callaway and head athletic trainer Brian Chicklo.
“I knelt down, I was kind of watching that play, and then when I went to get up, it just cramped up. I said I was fine and I wish I could have stayed out there,” deGrom said. “It just cramped up for a second and I just wanted to throw a couple pitches to make sure it was fine, and it was. It’s a tough loss for us tonight, and I wish I could have stayed out there.”
deGrom cruised for most of his outing. After allowing a leadoff single to Jarrod Dyson in the first, he retired 15 straight batters and had faced the minimum through five innings. He escaped a two-out jam in the sixth and had only thrown 66 pitches entering the seventh.
The D-backs scored in the seventh when Ildemaro Vargas singled and Adam Jones scored due to an Adeiny Hechavarria error. It was at that point Callaway and Chicklo came to the Chase Field mound to check on deGrom.
“We let him face one more hitter, and then he kind of looked like it was still bothering him a little bit, and then we just can’t leave him out there with anything bothering him, he’s too important to this franchise,” Callaway said. “He’s here for a long time and we can’t get him hurt just to try to get another out or another inning out of him.”
deGrom was pulled after giving up a ground-rule double to Nick Ahmed on his 89th pitch of the night. The right-hander was adamant he could have continued.
“I knew it probably wasn’t good, I knew I was probably coming out of the game, but I tried to tell them, ‘Look, I’m fine,’” deGrom said. “I felt like I made good pitches to Nick there, and he happened to get on top of one and hit it. Once they came out the first time, I thought I was going to be able to stay in the game and try to get us out of that inning.”
deGrom said he has never had hip cramping issues in the past. Callaway stated that cramps aren’t usually “very concerning” in the long term, but he wasn’t sure if this would affect deGrom moving forward.
After deGrom’s departure, Jeurys Familia got the Mets out of the seventh-inning jam by striking out Alex Avila to strand runners at second and third. But the next inning didn’t go as well for New York’s bullpen.
Arizona scored four runs in the eighth to tie the game, with Adam Jones’ two-run homer off Robert Gsellman knotting it at 5. Although Mets closer Edwin Diaz hadn’t pitched since Wednesday, Callaway didn’t want to use the right-hander for a five-out save opportunity and instead turned to Gsellman, who made his fourth appearance in five days.
“We’ve got to take care of Diaz, too,” Callaway said. “Somebody’s got to get outs in the eighth, and we’re just not getting it done at times. We can’t just cover everybody every night. Sometimes people have got to step up and get an out, and we just didn’t get it done.”
Diaz later pitched a strong 1 1/3 innings, which included striking out the side in the 10th. However, Tyler Bashlor gave up a leadoff double to pinch-hitter Kevin Cron in the 11th, leading to Tim Locastro’s one-out walk-off single.
Although the Mets’ rotation has a 3.11 ERA in the first six games of this West Coast road trip, New York has only two wins. That’s partially due to the bullpen’s recent struggles.
“We’re fine, we’re always positive,” Gsellman said. “We’ll be fine, we all have each other’s back. Right now, it’s just a couple bad games, but we’ll pick it up.”