Jacob deGrom dominates as the New York Mets go 4 for 5 against the Atlanta Braves


NEW YORK – Camera phones were taken out before the first pitch.

Decibel levels usually saved late in the game were reached before the first inning.

The lovefest for Jacob deGrom started from the opening warmup as a raucous home crowd and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” welcomed him back to the Citi Field mound. The cheers returned after each of his 12 strikeouts.

DeGrom pitched a perfect game into the sixth inning Sunday in his second start of the season and first in Queens in exactly 13 months. It was a vintage performance for the Mets righty, who missed an entire calendar year with elbow and shoulder problems.

It topped off a brilliant weekend for the Mets, who took four of five games against their NL East rival Braves with a 5-2 victory.

DeGrom struck out the first 17 batters before walking Ehire Adrianza and being chased from the game on Dansby Swanson’s two-run home run into the bullpen in center.

His matchup with fellow flamethrower Spencer Strider didn’t just live up to expectations. It surpassed them.

The Mets (70-39) are now a season-high 31 games over .500. It is their highest total since finishing 32 games over in the 2006 season. They have extended their lead in the NL East to 6.5 games.

DeGrom set an MLB record in the process by passing Yu Darvish for most strikeouts through 200 career games, with 1,523. He exited to a standing ovation after 76 pitches. Joely Rodriguez threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief and Edwin Diaz struck out the side in the ninth in picking up the save.

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The Mets gave deGrom an early lead by scoring four runs in the third inning. The top of the lineup started the rally with Brandon Nimmo hitting an infield single and Francisco Lindor reaching on a bloop single to left.

Pete Alonso took advantage with a two-run double that booted the third base bag into left field. The lucky return helped Alonso collect his 94th and 95th RBI of the season to extend an NL lead.

“With Pete, I think sometimes we miss how good a hitter he is,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s why you’re always looking for strength. It’s his ability to punch a ball out over the infield on a pitch that most of us would pick the splinters out of our hands.”

Mark Canha drove in two more runs later in the inning with a double that split the gap in left center. Daniel Vogelbach drove around to score from first on a short bubble from Braves outfielder Michael Harris II.

The Mets tacked on another run in the fifth when Jeff McNeil sprinted home on Collin McHugh’s wild pitch.

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