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Mets playoffs: Jacob deGrom pitched well in Game 5 despite not having his stuff

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Without his top stuff, deGrom proved he was an ace on the brightest stage.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike his Game 1 performance, Jacob deGrom didn't have his best stuff in last night's 3-2 series-clinching win over the Dodgers, so he had to make do with what he had. Yes, it's a cliché, but deGrom dug down and worked himself out of trouble regularly in six nerve-wracking—for fans, at least—frames.

From the first inning, you knew that deGrom was in trouble. He allowed four straight singles after getting a line drive out, turning a 1-0 lead into a 2-1 deficit. An inning later, he walked Joc Pederson to start the frame, and faced a two-on, one-out situation. deGrom powered out of it with back-to-back strikeouts of Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez.

When Justin Turner led off the third with a double, Mets fans—and everyone in the ballpark—wondered how much longer deGrom's night would last. Later in the inning, after Turner stole third, Yasmani Grandal walked, and L.A. had runners on the corners with one out. Terry Collins came out—instead of pitching coach Dan Warthen—and told deGrom to "get a double play, ignore the runner on third," according to Joel Sherman in the New York Post. A few pitches later, deGrom coaxed a 1-6-3 double play out of Enrique Hernandez.

"I was struggling," deGrom said. "He came out and said ‘Let’s go one pitch at a time, they are not going to score any more.’ He had confidence in me and I was thankful I got to stay in that game."

"I was hoping he would give us three," Collins told reporters. But deGrom got in and out of trouble, stranding eight Dodgers, who went just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position on the night. In the bullpen, Noah Syndergaard kept warming up, waiting to be called upon in an emergency. But deGrom was able to put out his own fires. Collins said that he was ready to take out deGrom four times.

"[deGrom just kept battling," Terry Collins said. "If that's not proof of the kid's makeup, what is?"

Only one of his six innings pitched Thursday night was a clean one—his sixth and final inning. He allowed six hits and walked seven. Dodgers were making better contact against him in general, as he battled control issues early.

"That's who he is—a bulldog," catcher Travis d'Arnaud said