Mets needed this one, and Jacob deGrom delivered

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In his bid to repeat as the National League Cy Young-award winner, Jacob deGrom may have a difficult time catching a certain Dodgers left-hander, but the Mets ace has certainly resembled the 2018 version of himself since the All-Star break.

The award could be Hyun-Jin Ryu’s to lose at this point. And yet deGrom continues to churn out dominant innings that scream “Don’t forget about me.”

Saturday night he carried his team to a much-needed victory against a doormat. With the Mets scratching for three runs late, they beat the Royals 4-1 at Kauffman Stadium to keep a needed series victory in play.

DeGrom allowed one earned run over seven innings and has pitched to a 1.00 ERA in his seven starts since the All-Star break. He began the night tied for the NL lead in strikeouts with Max Scherzer at 189 and added five to that total.

Seth Lugo rebounded from a disastrous outing against the Braves on Wednesday in which he allowed five runs in the seventh inning to pitch a scoreless ninth after Justin Wilson had handled the Royals in the eighth.

After lasting only five innings against the Nationals last Sunday, deGrom returned to form. Overall he surrendered three hits with two walks and five strikeouts. In his last eight road starts, the right-hander has pitched to a 1.73 ERA.

DeGrom allowed consecutive solid singles to Hunter Dozier and Jorge Soler to begin the seventh, but caught a break when Cheslor Cuthbert’s scorcher was hit right at Ruben Tejada, who kept the ball in front of him to start a 6-4-3 double play. Brett Phillips walked to keep the inning alive before deGrom struck out Ryan O’Hearn on his 107th and final pitch of the night.

Juan Lagares provided the Mets with a late cushion, smashing an RBI triple for his third hit of the night, giving the Mets a 4-1 lead in the eighth. Luis Guillorme’s two-out single started the surge.

Pete Alonso delivered the go-ahead hit in the seventh, sending a grounder behind second base against the shift that brought in two runs. Pitcher Tim Hill cut off the throw to the plate, ensuring there wouldn’t be a play on the trail runner, Aaron Altherr.

The Mets had loaded the bases in the inning on Amed Rosario’s walk after Altherr was plunked in the helmet by a Jakob Junis curveball. Juan Lagares’ second hit of the game, a single, started the rally.

Joe Panik’s RBI single in the fifth tied it 1-1. Juan Lagares and the slumping Altherr opened the inning with consecutive singles, but Rosario hit into a double play to prevent a potentially big inning. Panik followed with his single to knock in Lagares.

DeGrom retired the first 10 batters he faced before missing on a full-count changeup to walk Alex Gordon in the fourth. Hunter Dozier followed with a single to right against he shift for the Royals’ first hit and Pete Alonso misplayed Jorge Soler’s grounder for an error, giving the Royals a 1-0 lead.

The Mets held their collective breath in the third, when Rosario was drilled in the left hand by Junis. Rosario was examined by the trainer and remained in the game. He stole second base in the inning, but was left stranded when Junis retired Panik.