NEW YORK – Jacob deGrom overpowered the first eight Miami hitters, and all that stood between him and sole possession of a major league record was the opposing pitcher.
Line drive, base hit.
“I had no idea,” Marlins starter Jarred Cosart said. “Any time you can keep the other pitcher out of the history books, it’s a good thing.”
By striking out eight in a row to begin the game, deGrom matched a big league mark Monday night before the Marlins finally started making contact and rallied late for a 6-5 victory over the New York Mets.
Adeiny Hechavarria hit a two-run single and Jeff Mathis put the Marlins ahead with an RBI single that capped a three-run eighth inning. But with both teams under .500 and only two weeks left in the season, it was deGrom who provided the excitement early on.
On a night when New York’s goofy mascot, Mr. Met, wore a shaggy wig to mimic deGrom’s wild haircut, the rookie finished with a career-best 13 strikeouts in seven innings. He whiffed eight consecutive Marlins to begin the game, tying a mark set by Jim Deshaies of the Houston Astros against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 23, 1986.
Deshaies and deGrom are the only pitchers to accomplish the feat since 1900.
“That felt good. I had a good fastball early on,” deGrom said. “My two-seamer was moving a lot.”
Now a Chicago Cubs broadcaster, Deshaies noted the occasion on Twitter: “Congratulations to Jacob Degrom for tying one of the most hallowed records in all of sport,” he posted.
A top contender for NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom equaled Deshaies’ mark by freezing Mathis with a 153-kph fastball. The right-hander then gave up a sharp single to Cosart on a 1-0 pitch and received a warm ovation from the Citi Field crowd of 23,027.
“I threw ball one so I thought maybe he would take the next one,” deGrom said. “I was trying to go outside corner and I just left it over the middle.”
Despite squandering a two-run lead, deGrom was in line to win before Miami scored three in the against New York’s best relievers. Jeurys Familia (2-5) gave up four straight hits, and Mathis delivered a two-out single off closer Jenrry Mejia.
With the bases loaded, Sam Dyson (3-1) threw a called third strike past Dilson Herrera to end the seventh. Steve Cishek closed for his 36th save in 40 chances.
Miami finally solved deGrom in the seventh, when Hechavarria doubled and ex-Met Jordany Valdespin looped a two-run single that tied it 2-2. Pinch hitter Reed Johnson added a sacrifice fly.
Dating back to Aug. 23, deGrom had gone 28 innings without allowing an earned run.
Nationals 4, Braves 2
In Atlanta, Stephen Strasburg threw seven scoreless innings to end a long run of frustration against Atlanta, and the Nationals beat the struggling Braves to move to the verge of the NL East title.
Strasburg (12-11) ended a streak of eight winless starts against Atlanta since 2012.
Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2
In Phoenix, San Francisco lost its third consecutive game when Mark Trumbo hit a grand slam to ignite Arizona.
Trumbo had five RBIs, and Wade Miley (8-11) bounced back from his shortest outing of the season by pitching seven innings of one-run ball.
Dodgers 11, Rockies 3
In Denver, pinch hitter Justin Turner ignited an eight-run sixth inning with a tiebreaking two-run double, and surging Los Angeles beat Colorado.
Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer and Adrian Gonzalez had three RBIs for the Dodgers. Yasiel Puig showed more signs of getting back on track with two hits.
Padres 1, Phillies 0
In San Diego, Andrew Cashner pitched a two-hitter for his third career shutout and the Padres scored on Cody Asche’s fielding error in the second inning to beat the Phillies.
Casher (4-7) allowed two hits, struck out seven and walked one in winning for the second straight time after going winless since April 16 against Colorado.
Cubs 1, Reds 0
In Chicago, Anthony Rizzo capped his return to the Cubs lineup with a walkoff home run in the ninth inning that lifted the Cubs over Cincinnati.
Rizzo had missed the last 18 games due to a back problem but drove a pitch from Pedro Villarreal (0-1) over the wall in center field. Rizzo’s homer was his 31st of the season and gave Hector Rondon (4-4) the win after he tossed a scoreless inning of relief.