Thursday night at Truist Park, New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom had his worst start of the 2021 season. He also fell one short of his career high with 14 strikeouts, and dominated the Atlanta Braves across seven innings.
The Braves jumped on deGrom in the first inning, scoring three runs on three hits within the first four batters of the game. Austin Riley poked a two-run home run the other way to right field to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead. Here is Atlanta's first inning rally:
You have to credit Riley there. That was a 100 mph fastball on the outside corner, and he was able to reach out and drive it the other way. deGrom didn't make a mistake there. Just a good piece of hitting by Riley.
Abraham Almonte and Kevan Smith opened the second inning with back-to-back hits. deGrom then settled down and retired the final 18 batters he faced, including eight consecutively on strikeouts at one point. Seven of the eight were swinging.
The 14 strikeouts are one short of deGrom's career high. He fanned 15 Nationals back in April. This is his third start with 14-plus strikeouts this season and seventh in his career. deGrom's 136 strikeouts are one behind Trevor Bauer for the MLB lead.
deGrom last allowed three runs in a game for the first time since his final start last year, when the Nationals got to him for three runs in five innings. His 13 consecutive starts with no more than two runs allowed to begin this season is the longest such streak in baseball history, one longer than Hall of Famer Bob Gibson in 1968.
The Braves are the first team to score three first-inning earned runs against deGrom since Aug. 24, 2015, when the Phillies tagged him for three in his 24th career start. deGrom hadn't allowed a single first-inning run in 13 starts this year going into Thursday.
Thursday's start raised deGrom's ERA from 0.69 to 0.95. It was briefly over 1.00 after the first inning, though he was able to whittle it down in subsequent innings. The gap between deGrom and the second best pitcher in baseball right now is significant.
Dominic Smith's ninth-inning game-tying homer against Will Smith took deGrom off the hook for the loss. The Braves walked off on Freddie Freeman's walk-off infield single in the bottom of the ninth (ATL 4, NYM 3).