Michael Cuddyer slides in to score a run during the Mets 2-0 win on Monday. Photo by Bruce Adler.
BY JORDAN GIBBONS
Jacob deGrom was not dazzling in the Mets home opener, but he got the job the done and kept the Philadelphia Phillies from crossing home plate, earning his first victory of the season.
The Mets won 2-0 on Monday afternoon manufacturing enough offense to support deGrom and the bullpen, despite leaving nine runners on base.
Last year’s National League Rookie of the Year did not have his best stuff on the mound, but was able to muster up six plus innings with three strikeouts,
while giving up seven hits.
“When you realize you don’t have that you really got to concentrate and try to make the pitches that you can make,” deGrom said. “My offspeed really wasn’t that good and I was having a hard time locating my fastball, so I really had to bear down mentally and try to get guys out.”
Daniel Murphy helped get the Amazin’s on the board first in the bottom of the 4th inning when he knocked a double over rightfielder Grady Sizemore’s head. Travis d’Arnaud helped move him over to the third with a groundout, which set up Juan Lagares for the two-out RBI opportunity.
Lagares cracked a groundball back up the box at Harang, who got his glove on it to knock the ball down, but got his cleet stuck in the mound and could not get to the ball fast enough to throw out Lagares at first, allowing Murphy to score the opening run.
In the top of the seventh inning, Manager Terry Collins pulled deGrom from the game after giving up back-to-back singles. He left the mound having thrown 99 pitches. Carlos Torres came in and got two straight outs, stranding runners on first and third.
Late in spring training, the Mets acquired lefthanded reliever Jerry Blevins, who came in Monday and continued to be lights out against lefthanded batters, getting Odubel Herrera, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard 1-2-3 in the eighth inning.
Michael Cuddyer knocked his second hit of the game in the bottom of the eighth. Murphy followed by smacking a groundball to second base, where the normally sure-handed Utley botched the play, allowing the ball to shoot through his legs for an error. This allowed the Mets to manufacture another run as d’Arnaud produced a sacrifice fly bringing in Cuddyer for the second run.
“I’d like to wack a few more,” Collins said about the ways the Mets are producing their runs. “We’re just kind of plugging along, plugging along and if something happens, how many times do you see a ball go through Chase Utley’s legs – like never – and so we capitalized and got a run out of it. That’s how we’ve been winning.”
Jeurys Familia came in to close out the ninth and gave up a walk to start the inning. But after David Wright came in to calm him down, Familia got Sizemore to ground into a 3-6-1 double play that he finished off himself, inciting some emotion in the newly-named closer. He closed out the game on the next batter for his second save on the young season.
“This is a whole different stage. There’s 45,000 people screaming and if we’re going to continue playing like we’re talking, you better get used to it,” Collins said about Familia dealing with the sold out crowd. “This is a good outing for him to get out there and understand the noise and everything else involved, you still got to control yourself and he came back and got some outs.”
The Mets announced that Monday’s game set a record for attendance during a regular season game – 43,947. The only time Citi Field saw more people in the stands for baseball was at the 2013 All Star Game.