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Mets vs. Padres Recap: deGrom flirts with perfection in San Diego

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The Mets starter faced only one batter over the minimum in eight innings of work and led the Amazins to a 7-0 victory tonight in San Diego.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be honest: Monday night's contest versus the Padres might not have seemed like a game worth watching to an outside eye. To some people, "Mets vs. Padres," doesn’t exactly scream excitement. Lucas Duda had the day off, so there was little chance of seeing one of his glorious moonshots. And the game started at 10:10 EDT, a witching hour for many of the East Coast faithful. It would have been totally understandable had you decided to call it a night early and wake up to the result on Tuesday morning.

But for those who stayed awake, who cursed common sense and took a chance on a Monday night game versus an under .500, non-division opponent: the Amazins did not disappoint from the moment they stepped on the field.

The good times started early, with Ruben Tejada—for the third straight game, mind you—in the middle of the action. With one out in the top of the first, Tejada hit a ground-rule double, and then became the Mets first run on Daniel Murphy’s RBI single in the next at-bat. Murph himself got driven in thanks to an errant throw by Will Middlebrooks on Darrell Ceciliani’s ground ball to third, and the Mets went into the bottom of the first with a 2-0 lead.

Not to be outdone by his offense, Jacob deGrom struck out the side in the bottom of the first. And from the top of the second through the bottom of the fourth, it looked like the game was going to morph into a pitcher’s duel. Over that span, Padres starter Andrew Cashner settled down, and struck out almost every hitter in the Mets lineup at least once. In turn, deGrom was perfect in the second, the third, and the fourth.

In the top of the fifth, however, the Mets broke through in a big way and, once again, it started with that old offensive juggernaut Ruben Tejada. The Mets’ third baseman got on with his third hit of the night, and Daniel Murphy brought him home promptly with a two-run shot to right that gave the Mets a 4-0 lead. But before you could say "big inning," Michael Cuddyer had doubled, and was brought home after a Wilmer Flores strikeout by Ceciliani. The latter made the most of his chance to run the bases, as he stole second, and was driven in by Juan Lagares to officially blow the contest wide open and knock Cashner out of the game. The Mets added another run in the seventh when Flores singled home Murphy, but by that time, it was all just gravy, because Jacob deGrom was mowing down Padres with ease.

Now, I find that if a Mets pitcher is perfect through three innings, it’s pretty cool. If perfect through four, it’s interesting and exciting. If perfect through five, as Jacob deGrom was tonight, it becomes something entirely different.  I stop moving. Obviously, I don’t say anything to anyone. I just sit there and monitor the pace of my breathing, hoping to keep a consistent tempo so as not throw off the delicate balance that’s clearly been established by the universe.

Sadly though, on the three-year anniversary of Johan Santana serving as the sacrificial lamb on the altar of Mets history; there was no no-no for deGrom. Clint Barmes played the spoiler, and led off with a single in the bottom of the sixth. deGrom quickly recovered though, striking out Austin Hedges and inducing an inning-ending double play to get out of the inning having still faced the minimum. He then set down the Padres in order again in the seventh. In the eighth, he ended up allowing his second hit of the night, but completed the inning and put another zero up on the board. Finally, in the ninth Sean Gilmartin came out and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to tie up the victory for deGrom, and give those tired Mets fans that stayed awake something to brag about at work tomorrow.

SB Nation GameThreads

* Amazin' Avenue GameThread
* Gaslamp Ball GameThread

Win Probability Added

Mets vs. Padres 6/1

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Big winners: Daniel Murphy, +27.0% WPA; Jacob deGrom, +20.0% WPA
Big losers: Kevin Plawecki, -6.0% WPA; Michael Cuddyer, -5.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Daniel Murphy homer, top of the fifth
Teh sux0rest play: Clint Barmes single, bottom of the sixth
Total pitcher WPA: +20.0% WPA
Total batter WPA: +30.0% WPA
GWRBI!: Daniel Murphy single, top of the first