PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jacob deGrom tossed five scoreless innings and retired the final 14 batters he faced and the New York Mets rallied with five runs in the eighth to beat a Miami Marlins split squad 6-4 Tuesday at Tradition Field.
Catchers Kevin Plawecki and Johnny Monell, who both are ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas, contributed homers.
Monell capped an eighth-inning outburst with a three-run homer on the first pitch of Marlins right-hander Preston Claiborne's appearance. Against left-hander Mike Dunn earlier in that frame, John Mayberry Jr. scored on a wild pitch and Brandon Allen contributed a sacrifice fly.
Plawecki had been charged with a passed ball on Monday in Fort Myers that led to a Boston Red Sox walk-off win. A day later he launched a solo homer against A.J. Ramos in the fifth for the game’s opening run.
DeGrom allowed only one hit -- a leadoff single in the first by ex-Met Jordany Valdespin, whom he promptly erased with a double play. The reigning NL Rookie of the Year faced the minimum while striking out six. DeGrom has now walked only one batter and has a 2.45 ERA in 11 Grapefruit League innings.
“I’m just going out there trying to repeat my delivery and pound the strike zone and locate, and try to eliminate those walks -- because every time I walk somebody, they seem to score,” deGrom said.
DeGrom described himself as “very pleased” by Tuesday’s outing. He put an emphasis on throwing fastballs at the upper end of the strike zone.
“This week I worked on my delivery a little,” he said. “The last time I got a little herky-jerky in the third inning, maybe trying to overthrow.”
Steven Matz, who is not considered a candidate for relief and it ticketed for the Triple-A rotation to open the season, tossed a scoreless inning after deGrom departed. Matz only worked an inning because he is scheduled to be used Saturday in Lakeland against the Detroit Tigers, in a game Noah Syndergaard will start.
“I feel good,” Matz said. “I think I only have one walk. Early in the spring, that’s really what I focus on -- just getting a feel for all the pitches, throwing strikes. And I’m pretty happy with that.”
What’s next: The Mets enjoy their lone day off of camp on Wednesday. They then regroup Thursday for split-squad games. Dillon Gee begins ramping up for starting duty in place of Zack Wheeler in the home game against the Houston Astros. He will start opposite ex-Met Collin McHugh. Jonathon Niese heads to Jupiter to face left-hander Jaime Garcia and the St. Louis Cardinals.St. Louis Cardinals