NEW YORK -- On a night when they had a season-high 18 hits, the New York Mets' starting pitcher was the biggest star.
The final score -- Mets 8, Braves 3 -- doesn't do this game justice. Victories don't get much more impressive than this one.
Rookie Jacob deGrom threw seven shutout innings against first-place Atlanta, struck out 11 batters and walked none.
"I had control of all my pitches in the bullpen," deGrom said. "And coming out and starting the game, I felt really good."
He did give up seven hits, but all seven were singles. The Braves had a baserunner in six of deGrom's seven frames, but he left them stranded each time, with his fastball clocked as high as 96 mph, plus an array of sliders, curveballs and changeups.
"He made great pitches tonight," manager Terry Collins said. "He had very good stuff. And he showed that he can certainly compete in this league. If he keeps going out there and using both sides of the plate and throwing his offspeed stuff for strikes, because of his competitiveness, he's gonna be just fine."
deGrom is just 2-5, thanks in large part to poor run support prior to Tuesday. But his ERA is now a very respectable 3.38. Better yet, he became only the third pitcher in Mets history to post a pair of 11-strikeout games in his first 11 major league starts. The others? Nolan Ryan and Dwight Gooden.
"That's a cool category to be put in," deGrom said upon being told the news. "It's an honor. Those are two great pitchers."
The Mets led practically from the get-go Tuesday, thanks to Curtis Granderson's leadoff home run, which allowed deGrom to be more aggressive on the mound. They tacked on three more runs in the second inning and another in the third, which sent All-Star Julio Teheran to the showers in the fourth.
New York Mets
By that point, every player in the starting lineup had a hit. By the end of the night, Lucas Duda had three, six other players had two, and the Mets had established a new team record for hits in a game at Citi Field.
Collins and several Mets agreed Teheran, who sported a 2.29 ERA at the start of the day, was off his game and left pitches up in the zone. The Mets certainly took advantage of their opportunities.
"It's good for us," Granderson said. "Hopefully it's something we can continue to build on."
The Mets were written off by many after going 1-6 on their latest road trip and falling 11 games below .500. But they've now won three in a row and four of five, with five more games at home before the All-Star break.
They're only eight games out of first place, with 72 games to play -- hey, you never know.
"If we can finish off this homestand before the break on a positive note, it could definitely mean some good things for us," Granderson said.
Will this win be just a bright spot in another disappointing season or something more? We'll find out soon enough.