Jacob deGrom’s one-man show was impressive Tuesday night, but predictably, it didn’t end with a “W” next to the ace right-hander’s name.
Actually, it didn’t end with a win for anybody.
With heavy rain in the 10th inning at Wrigley Field, the Mets and Cubs were suspended at 1-1 and will finish the game Wednesday before playing the series finale.
But deGrom’s brilliance, in the context of the NL Cy Young award race, is what mattered Tuesday.
And deGrom was sharp, allowing one earned run over eight innings with 10 strikeouts in lowering his major-league leading ERA from 1.71 to 1.68.
Though deGrom’s hitting won’t factor into the Cy Young voting — but that could be a discussion for the MVP race — he finished 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI.
“He continues to do the job,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “He’s just an all-around player and the best pitcher in baseball at this point.”
The outing was deGrom’s 24th straight in which he allowed three earned runs or fewer, tying Dwight Gooden’s franchise record set in 1985.
DeGrom peaked at 100 mph on the radar gun and kept his fastball in the 97-98 range throughout.
“I was able to locate it: in, out, up, down and those guys were geared up for it,” deGrom said. “I kept throwing it. I wanted to make them hit it, before I went to the offspeed and kind of have that in my back pocket the third time through.”
DeGrom’s chief opponents in the Cy Young race, Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer, faced off for the second time in five days. Nola allowed one earned run over seven innings for the Phillies and lowered his ERA to 2.10. Scherzer allowed three earned runs over five innings for the Nationals and saw his ERA increase to 2.22.
Cole Hamels handled the Mets over five scoreless innings before departing for a pinch-hitter at 96 pitches. The veteran lefty, a nemesis from his days with the Phillies, had last opposed the Mets in 2015.
DeGrom (8-8) continued a pattern of facing tough mound opponents: His previous three were Luis Severino, Jake Arrieta and Madison Bumgarner.
DeGrom was the winning pitcher against Severino and Arrieta before losing to Bumgarner.
The Cubs didn’t score against deGrom until the seventh, when Ben Zobrist hit a sharp grounder under Jay Bruce’s glove at first base to put runners on the corners. David Bote followed with a sacrifice fly that tied it 1-1.
In the sixth, deGrom drove in the Mets’ run with a groundball single that brought in Todd Frazier. It was deGrom’s second hit of the game and fourth RBI this season. DeGrom’s cushion should have extended in the seventh, when Jeff McNeil tripled leading off the inning, but the Mets couldn’t score, despite hard-hit balls by Austin Jackson and Michael Conforto that were caught.
The Mets received a brief scare in the fourth, when deGrom slipped fielding Javier Baez’s grounder that became an infield single. But deGrom, who did a split on the play, remained in the game after a visit from the trainer.
Hamels was threatened in the fifth, when the Mets loaded the bases with two outs before Conforto struck out. DeGrom had an infield hit in the inning, displaying no sign of sluggishness after his slip.
“When I ran the bases I felt fine,” deGrom said. “So I’ll be all right.”