PHILADELPHIA — Jacob deGrom pitched his first complete game of the season on Saturday and lowered his major-league-leading earned run average to 1.71, weathering a rain delay and leading the Mets over the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-1.
DeGrom (8-7) kept bolstering his case for the National League Cy Young Award and allowed only an unearned run, the result of his own error. He walked none, struck out nine and threw his hardest pitch, a 99-mile-per-hour fastball, on the next to last of his 108 pitches.
“Jacob has continued to prove why he is probably the front-runner at this point,” Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said.
The right-handed deGrom has thrown three complete games in 132 starts in the majors. He threw a one-hitter at Citizens Bank Park on July 17, 2016, in a 5-0 victory over the Phillies.
It appeared that deGrom’s day might be cut short by a 41-minute rain delay that began in the middle of the fourth, but he came back as strong as before the delay.
DeGrom was so eager to resume that he began to get loose on the mound before the umpires returned and before the Phillies’ grounds crew raked the field.
But that did not bother deGrom. He allowed a leadoff single to Rhys Hoskins in the fourth and then retired nine of 10 before the seventh, in which Philadelphia got its lone run.
DeGrom, a two-time All-Star, allowed three runs or fewer in a 22nd consecutive start, two starts behind Dwight Gooden’s club record. He also surpassed 200 strikeouts for the season, finishing the game with 204.
“A lot of life on his fastball, and best slider of the year,” catcher Devin Mesoraco said. “He had everything working. Very impressive.”
The Mets’ pitching coach, Dave Eiland, approached deGrom before the ninth, and deGrom was emphatic that he wanted to finish.
“I definitely wanted it badly,” deGrom said. “I said, ‘I’m going out there.’ And he was fine with it.”
Hoskins and Maikel Franco each had a single and a double for the Phillies, who began the day half a game behind Atlanta in the N.L. East and leading the N.L. wild-card race.
Jake Arrieta (9-8) allowed one run on four hits with six strikeouts and no walks in six strong innings.
The Mets went ahead in the fourth when Jeff McNeil scored from third on a single by Wilmer Flores. They took a 3-0 lead in the seventh with two runs off Luis Garcia. Devin Mesoraco homered and Amed Rosario scored on McNeil’s first career triple.