CHICAGO -- In a season full of no-decisions, National League Cy Young Award candidate Jacob deGrom had to wait nearly 14 hours to complete his latest trip to pitching purgatory.
Thirteen hours and 59 minutes after rain suspended the Mets' game against the Cubs on Tuesday, the two teams resumed play Wednesday at Wrigley Field. It took just two additional innings for the Cubs to push across the winning run, walking off with a 2-1 victory on Benjamin Zobrist's RBI single in the 11th.
After Paul Sewald walked the leadoff man in the 11th, Victor Caratini attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt. But Sewald sailed his throw well above first baseman Jay Bruce's head, putting two men on base with no outs. Three batters later, Zobrist hit a single up the middle against lefty Daniel Zamora to make the Cubs walk-off winners.
"That's a tough spot," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said of Zamora entering with the bases loaded. "He executed the pitches he wanted to and got the ground ball. It was kind of a weaker ground ball, and it just went right in between everybody. Two feet to the left or the right and maybe it's a double play."
It was a long way for deGrom, who has taken 12 no-decisions in 28 starts this season, to receive his latest. Relying almost exclusively on fastballs over the game's first three innings, deGrom hit a career-high 99.7 mph on the radar gun in striking out six of the first 11 batters he faced. The Mets received a brief scare when deGrom slipped and fell attempting to field Javier Baez's soft ground ball in the fourth inning, but he recovered from that to hold the Cubs scoreless into the seventh.
All told, deGrom allowed one run in eight innings with 10 strikeouts.
"The guy is as advertised," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "That's different. That's another level of stuff."
The only run off deGrom crossed home in the seventh, after pinch-hitter Zobrist hit a sharp ground ball to first base, a step to Bruce's right. The ball skipped past Bruce and into right field, giving the Cubs runners on the corners. David Bote then lofted a game-tying sacrifice fly.
"That's a tough play," Callaway said. " It's such a reaction play. It's hit so hard, you just kind of stick your glove over there. It kind of stayed down on him instead of bouncing into his glove. So it's a tough play. I think the more and more he gets reps over there … he'll get more and more comfortable with it. But it's still a tough play."
Despite multiple rallies against Cubs starter Cole Hamels, the Mets could not break through to support deGrom. It took a deGrom RBI single off Brandon Kintzler in the sixth for the Mets to crack a scoreless tie; in six August starts, deGrom has allowed six runs and driven in three.
And that has been the norm for him. Since the NL Cy Young Award has become a realistic goal for deGrom, he seems to have hit another gear; despite insisting that he pays little attention to the race for the award, deGrom has become more animated on the field, pumping his fist after big outs and growing agitated when things don't unfold as he desires.
He's been doing the former more than the latter. Allowing three or fewer runs for the 24th straight start, deGrom tied Dwight Gooden's 32-year-old Major League record. He also notched his 19th consecutive quality start (at least six innings and no more than three runs allowed) to match Tom Seaver's 45-year-old franchise record.
"He continues to do the job," Callaway said. "He's just an all-around player, and the best pitcher in baseball at this point."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Helping his own cause: Already having beaten out an infield single earlier in the game, deGrom came to the plate in the sixth with two runners in scoring position and two out. With the defense leaving a significant gap in the left side of the infield, deGrom squirted a ground ball through the hole, plating Todd Frazier for the Mets' only run.
Since going 3-for-42 at the plate in his first 20 starts, deGrom is 5-for-16 with three RBIs.
"I was just trying to put the ball in play, honestly," deGrom said. "I didn't really know what he was going to throw me. I was just trying to put the barrel to the ball."
The suspended game was the Mets' first since June 27, 2015, when rain halted play in the seventh inning at Citi Field. The Mets and Reds played six more innings the following day, until Lucas Duda finally hit a walk-off fielder's choice in the 13th. All-time, the Mets are 1-2 in suspended games.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Throwing almost exclusively fastballs over the game's first two innings, deGrom ended the first with a 99.7-mph heater to strike out Baez -- the fastest pitch of his career.
"I was able to locate it in, out, up down," deGrom said of his fastball. "Those guys were geared up for it and I kept throwing it. I wanted to make them hit it before we went to the offspeed."
HE SAID IT
"I think Jay has done a really good job the days he's over there at first, and I think he's a good option defensively and offensively for us. We obviously try to make sure we put the best lineup we can every night, giving guys rest and matchups on the pitching, and having our best defense possible out there." -- Callaway, on the decision to start Bruce at first base
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
An early Mets rally was cut short when Amed Rosario and Jeff McNeil attempted a double steal in the third inning. Umpire Eric Cooper initially ruled Rosario safe at third, but a review revealed Rosario did not touch the base before Bote tagged him. Instead of having runners on second and third with one out, the Mets were left with a man on second and two out. They did not score.
FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
The Mets kept reliever Robert Gsellman quarantined in their team hotel during the first nine innings of the game Tuesday due to a bout of strep throat, but Gsellman returned to the park Wednesday and was available to pitch in an emergency.
Left-hander Jason Vargas will start the regularly scheduled series finale at Wrigley Field following a 45-minute break. Rookie right-hander Alec Mills starts for Chicago. Vargas looks to continue his recent spurt of success -- going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA over his past three starts.