Friday night Jacob deGrom gave a master class at PNC Park to the dismay of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The dominant deGrom had vintage velocity in the 8-1 defeat, becoming the first Mets pitcher this season to flirt with a complete game.
In 8.1 innings, the reliable righty held the Pirates to a run on six hits. He walked one and struck out 10 to improve to a 4-1 record. The added bonus is he gave his downtrodden bullpen a much-need day’s rest.
Neil Walker had a notable return to his native city, punishing his former team with a pair of homers, having a month to remember, hitting .344 with eight doubles, a triple, four home runs and 18 RBI in 22 games.
Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson, both feeling their offensive oats, got NY on the board in the second with a double and run scoring single.
In the third, Pirates starting pitcher Chad Kuhl had a 1,2,3 inning written all over it, but a wild pitch to Jose Reyes on a swinging strike three, kept the door open for the first of Walker’s pokes out of the park.
Reyes didn’t miss on his next at bat, sending a fly ball to center field that the fresh off the DL Andrew McCutchen misplayed allowing the still speedy Reyes to slide in for a triple. Jay Bruce’s sac fly is a good as a hit gave NY a 2-1 lead that Walker turned to three with his second souvenir into center field.
Walker took more advantage of his warm welcome in the sixth, sending home Michael Conforto who reached on a walk, with a single to center for his fourth RBI of the night.
With their six-game road skid put out to pasture, the Mets look to RHP Zack Wheeler to strike out more and walk less as he faces off against RHP Gerrit Cole who was tagged for five runs in his last start.