Then in a hurry, things turned around for them and the New York Mets.
DeGrom pitched a five-hitter, Cabrera lined two home runs and turned four double plays, and the Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 Monday night.
"I think it all evens out," deGrom said.
DeGrom (5-3) threw the Mets' first complete game of the season, Jay Bruce also homered and New York won its fourth in a row.
Still under .500 but getting healthier, the Mets started a key two-week stretch where they face 14 straight games against teams that reached the NL playoffs last year.
The only damper on the win: Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes exited because of a sore left heel, two days after he returned from a six-week stint on the disabled list.
Cespedes went 1 for 3 before being pulled. He had been out with a strained left hamstring, and also had been nagged by trouble with his quadriceps.
But Cespedes said there was nothing to worry about this time. He said the heel has bothered him for years, and that he expected to play Tuesday night.
"I'm just trying to be a little cautious," he said through a translator.
The Cubs dropped to 31-32 with their ninth straight road loss -- the World Series champions haven't won away from Wrigley Field in a month during their worst road skid since 2012.
"We can't keep using that as an excuse that the other team's pitcher is good," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "We've got to start beating some better pitchers, period. You don't get to the promised land without winning games like that, maybe 3-2, 4-3, whatever."
Addison Russell homered in Chicago's fifth loss in six games overall. The defeat began a string in which the Cubs play 17 of 20 on the road.
DeGrom pitched the Mets to their seventh win in a row over the Cubs at Citi Field, dating to the 2015 NL Championship Series. He neatly bounced back from getting hit hard in a pair of starts, walking four and striking out six.
DeGrom worked around a two-out double by Anthony Rizzo in the first and, effectively using a changeup, went on to throw his second complete game in 89 major league starts. After pitching the eighth, deGrom delivered a simple message to manager Terry Collins.
"I walked in and said I wanted to finish the game," deGrom said.
John Lackey (4-7) fell to 0-4 in five starts. He's allowed nine homers in 28 innings over the span and has yielded 19 longballs this season, one behind Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo for most in the majors.
"I need to do a better job of keeping the ball in the yard, for sure, and give our offense a chance to score a couple of runs," Lackey said.
Cabrera got off to an ominous start with his 11th error, four more than the usually sure-handed shortstop made all of last year. Jason Heyward opened the Cubs second with a routine popup and Cabrera bumped into third baseman Jose Reyes as they settled under it, with the ball glancing off Cabrera's glove and falling to the ground.
"It's a tough game. Bad things happen, too," Cabrera said.
But Cabrera opened the bottom of the second by lining a drive over the right-center field fence. In the fourth, Cabrera did it again for his sixth home run this season and the sixth multihomer game of his career.
Cabrera was in the middle of double plays the Mets turned in four straight innings, starting in the third.
Bruce hit his 17th homer, a two-run drive in the third. He had three hits and drew a walk.
Russell homered for the second day in a row, connecting in the seventh.
The Mets signed RHP Daniel Bard, and the reliever who turns 32 this month will report to the team's spring site in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Bard pitched 211 times for Boston from 2009-13, and spent parts of the last two seasons in the minors for St. Louis.
A fan ran on the field in the eighth inning while the Cubs made a pitching change. The man headed toward center field, where a security guard made a firm tackle.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (hand tendinitis) plans to throw on the side Tuesday. If all goes well, the team hopes he can come off the disabled list and start this weekend at Pittsburgh.
Mets: OF Michael Conforto was scratched with a stiff back and could miss one or two days.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (3-4, 4.12 ERA) is 0-3 with 7.11 ERA in five road starts this year. In his previous start at Citi Field, last July 3, the Mets tagged him for eight earned runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-3, 3.45) threw a career-high 120 pitches in his last start vs. the Cubs, back in 2014.
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