SAN DIEGO -- Jacob deGrom insisted he never really thought on Monday night about the possibility of tossing the second no-hitter in New York Mets history. Well, except for the instant when a Petco Park spectator forced him to recognize his potential achievement.
"I heard someone yell it out to me when I was walking off the field," deGrom said. "But I was trying not to think about that, and I was just trying to go out there still execute my game plan."
Not long after the boisterous fan shouted at him, deGrom surrendered a leadoff single to Clint Barmes in the sixth inning on a fastball that Barmes shot through the right side of the infield. DeGrom finished with eight scoreless innings, allowing two hits and no walks while striking out eight in a 105-pitch effort.
DeGrom has a 0.92 ERA (three earned runs in 29 1/3 innings) over his past four starts. He has allowed 14 hits and one walk and struck out 34 during that span.
"Honestly, when I was warming up, I wasn't throwing the ball where I wanted at all," deGrom said. "So I was like, 'Oh, man, I better get it under control out there.' And then when I got out there on the mound I focused and was able to make pitches. After the second or third inning, I knew I was able to make the pitches. My slider was good and I was able to locate that, too, on both sides of the plate."
DeGrom has not allowed an extra-base hit in his past four starts, matching the longest single-season streak in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Gary Gentry (1969), Jon Matlack (1975) and Dwight Gooden (1984) also went four straight games. Overall, deGrom has gone 33 1/3 innings without surrendering an extra-base hit.
DeGrom (6-4) notched his first road win of the season.
"This is probably one of the best games I've seen him pitch. And I've seen him pitch some really, really good ones," manager Terry Collins said.
DeGrom suggested his mechanics are one major key to his recent success. He has overcome a stretch when he was "slow" and "methodical" with his hands while delivering the baseball, which coincided with hip and shoulder issues.
"I think this is the best I've been at repeating it and staying on top of the ball and then getting good down movement, like I did last year," said deGrom, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year.
Just before deGrom gave up the sixth-inning single to Barmes, Collins started to wonder if he would have to make a decision like he did exactly three years earlier, when he allowed Johan Santana to complete a June 1, 2012, no-hitter despite a rising pitch count.
"Going into that inning, before they got the hit, I just started thinking to myself, 'Well, this could be a night we're going to have to sit back and watch what happens,'" Collins said. "He pitched a great game."