Baseball / MLB

Billy Hamilton leads Braves past Mets in 14th inning

AP

With Jacob deGrom and the Mets hard-throwing bullpen missing bats at a historic pace, the NL East-leading Braves were ready to win with small ball Friday night.

That’s exactly what Billy Hamilton is there for — although this first contribution wasn’t exactly on script. Hamilton singled home the go-ahead run in the 14th inning for his first hit as a Brave, and Atlanta beat the Mets 2-1 for its sixth straight win despite yet another sensational two-way effort by deGrom.

“Might be one of the best feelings of my life except for my first stolen base in the major leagues,” Hamilton said. “I mean this might be the top.”

New York tied a major league record by striking out 26 batters, including 13 by deGrom, and 21-year-old Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. became the second-youngest player with a 30-homer, 30-steal season — only Mike Trout did it younger.

Yet the game came down to Hamilton, who delivered to snap the Mets’ five-game winning streak. The seventh-year major leaguer was claimed by Atlanta off waivers from Kansas City last week to be a pinch-running specialist down the stretch. The speedster did just that in the 10th, replacing a runner at first and stealing a base, but he was left stranded.

Four innings later, his grounder against Jeurys Familia (4-2) was just out of reach for diving second baseman Joe Panik, allowing Tyler Flowers to score from third. The hit came in Hamilton’s fourth plate appearance since changing teams, and the 28-year-old looked back into Atlanta’s dugout after reaching first and saw a booming celebration.

DeGrom homered and struck out eight straight batters during one stretch, pitching seven innings of one-run ball. He finished a punchout shy of his career high — the righty whiffed 14 and also homered to beat Miami on April 3. DeGrom became the first pitcher since at least 1900 to strike out 13 and homer in a game twice in the same season, per the Elias Sports Bureau.

The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner got a no-decision anyway, the 18th time in his career he’s pitched one-run ball or better over seven innings and not gotten a victory. New York is just 7-5 this year when deGrom allows one or fewer earned runs.

The Mets’ previous high for strikeouts as a staff was 24, achieved June 2, 2018, against the Cubs during a 14-inning game — deGrom also struck out 13 in that one. DeGrom’s eight straight strikeouts marked the best such streak in the majors this year and tied his career high. He went over 200 strikeouts in a season for the fourth time.

Yankees 10, Dodgers 2

In Los Angeles, Didi Gregorius hit a grand slam off Ryu Hyun-jin and added a solo shot to help the Yankees set a club record for homers in a month, and New York routed the Dodgers in a matchup of the two teams with the best records in baseball. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres also homered as the Yankees ended a four-game skid. They have a major league-leading 57 homers in August, their most in any month.

Marlins 19, Phillies 11

In Miami, Starlin Castro homered twice and drove in five runs, and the hosts spotted Philadelphia a seven-run lead before rallying to score their most runs ever at Marlins Park.

Astros 5, Angels 4

In Houston, Zack Greinke won his fourth straight start since being traded to the Astros and Yuli Gurriel hit a two-run blast in the fifth.

Los Angeles designated hitter Shohei Ohtani was 0-for-4 and scored a run.

In Other Games

Red Sox 11, Padres 0

Brewers 6, Diamondbacks 1

Nationals 9, Cubs 3

Cardinals 8, Rockies 3

Indians 4, Royals 1

White Sox 8, Rangers 3

Pirates 3, Reds 2

Rays 7, Orioles 1

Tigers 9, Twins 6

Marines 7, Blue Jays 4

GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5