Twins Pound Mets Ace
NEW YORK (AP) — The records set at Citi Field on Tuesday night were for balls clearing the fence with unprecedented frequency, not Jacob deGrom establishing a mark for consistency.
DeGrom's record-tying string of quality starts ended at 26 when he allowed two home runs to Mitch Garver and one to Eddie Rosario in a 14-8 drubbing by the Minnesota Twins, the worst outing in two years for the New York Mets ace.
"I was bad out there. That's all there is to it," deGrom said.
The teams combined for 10 home runs totaling three-quarters of a mile — 3,995 feet, to be exact. Minnesota had six, including a pair by Jonathan Schoop. Rookie slugger Pete Alonso had two for the Mets on a 46-degree night as the teams hit the most home runs in a game at Citi Field, which opened a decade ago.
"The ball's been flying here more than I've ever seen," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "A lot of homers have been hit, and it seems like it's traveling a long way. I don't know if it's the atmosphere right now or whatever. But this time of year, the balls don't usually travel like they are."
DeGrom gave up three homers and was lifted for a pinch hitter in the fourth inning after allowing eight hits and six runs — his most since Sept. 5, 2017. He sat grimly on the bench, head bowed, hands clenched together.
"I was all over the place," deGrom said. "I missed a lot in the middle of the zone. Even a lot of the outs that they made, the ball was hit hard."
The right-hander struck out a career-high 14 during seven shutout innings against Miami last Wednesday, when he matched Bob Gibson's mark for consecutive starts of six or more innings with three earned runs or fewer allowed, set from 1967-68.
"We found out he's human, finally," Callaway said. "I didn't think he was for a while."
New York held back deGrom's start for 25 minutes, not wanting a brief April shower to fall on the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. Home runs then rained from the Twins, who entered with seven in their first nine games.
Garver homered leading off the second, ending deGrom's scoreless streak at 27 innings. After deGrom threw a run-scoring wild pitch that put Minnesota ahead, Rosario and Garver hit back-to-back long balls in a four-run third for a 5-1 lead.
"I think the homers were all no-doubters, for the most part," Garver said, "but there were a few balls that were hit to deep outfield that kind of caught me by surprise with how far they were going."
DeGrom had gone a big league-record 31 starts in a row allowing three runs or fewer since April 10 last year against Miami. He had not given up back-to-back homers since the Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramírez connected on May 21, 2014. Mark Teixeira and Giancarlo Stanton had been the only previous players with multihomer games against deGrom.
Before a sparse crowd that appeared far smaller than the 22,126 announced, deGrom went to full counts on six of his first 11 batters and needed 31 pitches to get through the second inning.
Schoop added a solo homer in the sixth off Seth Lugo and a three-run drive in the ninth off Jason Vargas. Jorge Polanco hit a two-run drive in the eighth against Robert Gsellman following an error by Alonso at first base that led to three unearned runs.
Garver tied his career best with four of Minnesota's 17 hits, and Polanco had a bunt single, triple and home run, three days after hitting for the cycle.