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Monday, May 26, 2014
deGrom has mature take after pen flop

By Adam Rubin

NEW YORK -- Jacob deGrom has a 1.83 ERA (and .800 batting average) through three major-league starts. And yet his first win will have to wait.

DeGrom tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings and departed with a two-run lead on Memorial Day at Citi Field. But Scott Rice surrendered a solo homer and Jose Valverde was charged with four additional runs over the final two innings as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the New York Mets, 5-3, to hand deGrom a no-decision.

“My job is to keep us in the ballgames,” deGrom maturely said afterward. “I’m trying to go out there and do that every time. Wins will take care of themselves, I think, just as long as I give us a chance.

“It’s part of the game,” the rookie continued, referring to Valverde’s meltdown, which led to the veteran reliever’s postgame release. “Nobody is perfect out there. He did his best and just didn’t have it today.”

DeGrom struggled with command early and actually allowed five of the first seven batters to reach. But he stranded the bases loaded in the first inning and ultimately limited Pittsburgh to five hits and five walks. Two of deGrom’s walks came in the seventh, as his pitch count reached 122.

“We knew what our bullpen situation was,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We knew we were very thin. You had [Daisuke] Matsuzaka out. You had [Jenrry] Mejia out. I’m working [Jeurys] Familia to death. So we knew we had to get deep into the game. The way Jake was throwing, he came off after the sixth and said he still felt great.”

Collins said he was particularly thrilled that deGrom stuck with his offspeed pitches even though he struggled to throw them for strikes early. The manager labeled the outing “brilliant.”

“All he kept doing was, he stayed with it,” Collins said. “And you know what? You don’t see young pitchers do that very often.”

Said deGrom: “It’s a lot easier to pitch when you’ve got your best stuff. To go out there and be struggling with command and get the results that I did, I’m happy with that.”