NEW YORK -- Everything was falling into place Friday for Jacob deGrom until he felt some stiffness beneath his right armpit.
The Mets' right-hander maintained his focus on the mound with a baby on the way, and New York got big hits from Neil Walker and Michael Conforto to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-2 in its home opener.
After throwing 76 pitches through six sharp innings, deGrom (1-0) was removed from his chilly season debut as a precaution with tightness in his right lat.
"I just said something to be smart about it. You know, early on, don't want to push it too much," deGrom said. "I'm hoping it's elements. I'm not really that worried about it."
Right up until Friday, it was uncertain if deGrom would start because his wife is due with their first child (a boy). He said all along he plans to head for home in Florida whenever she goes into labor.
So deGrom called his wife in the morning and received some comforting news: At her doctor's appointment Thursday, she was told the baby probably wouldn't arrive Friday.
"She probably knew better than anybody," manager Terry Collins said with a smile.
"I think that gave me a little peace of mind," deGrom said.
The 2015 All-Star hardly looked distracted -- even knocking in the first run with a groundout. He yielded one run and five hits with six strikeouts and no walks against a Phillies lineup missing young bopper Maikel Franco, hit by a pitch Thursday in Cincinnati.
Mets captain David Wright mentioned deGrom's "laser focus" and said, "It just seems like he finds a way."
"Once I get out there I think the competitiveness takes over," deGrom explained, adding he wasn't concerned about a dip in velocity, either.
"It was cold out today. I think it'll be back sometime soon," he said. "I don't feel any different. Like I said, I got a lot of swing-and-misses. If you see a guy late on the fastball it really doesn't matter what the radar gun says, if you're blowing it by him. So I think that's kind of how we read how our fastball is coming out."
Lucas Duda lined a leadoff double in the sixth and Walker followed with a tiebreaking single, endearing himself to New York fans after being acquired from Pittsburgh in an offseason trade.
Conforto followed with an RBI double that chased Jerad Eickhoff (0-1), who faced the Mets for the fourth time in nine major league starts. He was doing fine once again until going back out to the mound following a trip around the bases in the top of the sixth.
"I'm in great shape, so it didn't affect me at all," Eickhoff said.
Walker added another RBI single and Conforto, who had three RBI in his first home opener, hit a two-run single in a four-run seventh against left-hander James Russell.
"I think this is what we're all expecting," Conforto said.
New York had two days off following a two-game split to start the season in Kansas City, which beat the Mets in the World Series last year. Former pennant-winning Mets stars Rusty Staub, John Franco and Edgardo Alfonzo hoisted the 2015 National League championship flag above the right-field stands at Citi Field during pregame festivities.
"We're not the best hitting team in the league, but we're certainly better than we're showing," manager Pete Mackanin said. "We've got to get everybody going. It seems like they're trying too hard."
SEEN THAT BEFORE
Last season, deGrom went 6 1/3 innings to beat Philadelphia 2-0 in the home opener. ... Wright is batting .375 (18 for 48) in 12 home openers with at least one hit in every game.
Phillies: Franco was nursing a sore left forearm but was available off the bench. He'll be back in the lineup Saturday, Mackanin said. Andres Blanco started at third base.
Mets: Collins said he plans to give Wright a day off this weekend. ... RHP Zack Wheeler is scheduled to have a minor procedure Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery to remove a suture knot in his right forearm, which is residue from his March 2015 Tommy John surgery, the team said. The suture knot has caused skin irritation, but Wheeler should be able to resume his throwing program within a few days and his return to the mound should not be affected, according to the Mets. The club is targeting July 1 for Wheeler's return to the rotation.
Phillies: Rookie RHP Vince Velasquez makes his Philadelphia debut on Saturday night, weather permitting.
Mets: RHP Bartolo Colon makes his first start this season at age 42 on Saturday night, followed by postgame fireworks.
- Home Plate Umpire - Paul Nauert
- First Base Umpire - Chris Conroy
- Second Base Umpire - Jerry Meals
- Third Base Umpire - Ron Kulpa