NEW YORK — Camera phones are taken out before the first pitch.
The decibel levels that are usually saved late in the game are reached before the first inning.
Jacob deGrom’s love affair began with the opening game, when a lively home crowd and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” welcomed him back to Citi Field.The cheers are back After his 12 strikeouts.
DeGrom played a perfect sixth inning Sunday, his second of the season and his first in Queens in 13 months. It was a classic performance for the Mets right-hander who missed an entire year with elbow and shoulder issues.
It capped a stellar weekend for the Mets, who went 5-2 against their NL East rivals the Warriors, winning four of their five games.
DeGrom sent the top 17 hitters, then walked Ehire Adrianza and was chased to the center’s bullpen on Dansby Swanson’s two-run homer.
His fight against fellow flamethrower Spencer Strider didn’t just live up to expectations. It surpasses them.
The Mets (70-39) are now a season-high 31 games above .500. This is their highest total since they completed 32 games 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, passing Darvish for the most strikeouts with 1,523 in 200 career games. He got a standing ovation after 76 pitches. Joely Rodriguez threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings in the save, and Edwin Diaz hit the wing in the ninth for a save.
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The Mets scored four in the third to give DeGrom an early lead. The top of the lineup started the rally, with Brandon Nimoy outplaying the infield single and Francisco Lindo hitting the left single.
Pete Alonso took advantage of two runs to pull the third away and into left field. A lucky rebound helped Alonso collect his 94th and 95th RBIs of the season to extend the NL lead.
“With Pete, I think sometimes we miss what a great hitter he was,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s why you’re always looking for strength. It’s his ability to hit the ball out of the field on the pitch and most of us will pick up pieces from us.”
Mark Canha had two more goals late in the inning, and the doubles widened the gap at left center. Daniel Vogelbach scored from the start after a slight shake from Warriors outfielder Michael Harris II.
The Mets clinched another win in Game 5 as Jeff McNeil ran on Colin McHugh’s wild field.