Ravaged by injuries, the Mets need Jacob deGrom now more than ever.
That’s why his typically brilliant performance Tuesday night was such a welcome sight in a sea of bad news.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner struck out nine in his successful return from the injured list, and Tomas Nido hit a tiebreaking homer to send the depleted Mets to a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Back from a bout with tightness on his right side, deGrom gave up only Ryan McMahon’s solo homer in five innings of three-hit ball. He fired his usual assortment of 100 mile-an-hour fastballs and nasty sliders during his first big league outing since May 9.
“It felt like a really long time,” deGrom said. “I hate not going out there. You feel like you’re letting down the team.”
The nimble right-hander walked none and was removed after 63 pitches. He also singled at the plate for his eighth hit in seven games this season.
“Everything felt good. Body felt good,” said deGrom, who is pretty sure he hurt himself on a swing against Arizona.
He fanned eight over three innings last week in a rehab appearance for Class A St. Lucie, then came back Tuesday to give the Mets a major boost.
“He was outstanding,” Manager Luis Rojas said. “This is who he is, just a complete baseball player.”
Nido connected for a two-run shot off Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-3) in the sixth after Dominic Smith singled. Nido stopped at second when umpires initially ruled his drive hit the top of the wall, but they changed the call to a home run without benefit of replay following a huddle in the infield.
“I knew I hit it well,” Nido said. “I figured it was over his head. I just didn’t know if I had enough.”
Cameras showed the ball indeed barely cleared the fence in left-center before bouncing back onto the field.
Nido waved his arms to spur on the Citi Field crowd as he finished rounding the bases with his third homer of the season. The backup catcher has been pressed into more regular duty lately because the Mets 16 players on the injured list, most in the majors.
“He’s earned the playing time that he’s gotten,” Rojas said.
Despite all the injuries, the Mets (22-20) lead the N.L. East. They snapped a three-game slide and won for the fourth time in 11 games.
Colorado, which had won a season-best four straight, fell to 3-18 on the road.
A trio of Mets relievers combined for four hitless innings. Miguel Castro (1-1) struck out four in two innings, Trevor May worked the eighth and Edwin Díaz whiffed three in the ninth for his eighth save, completing a three-hitter.
Kluber Leaves Loss With Shoulder Tightness
Steven Matz felt at home in his return to New York, making it appear the Mets gave up too soon when they jettisoned the left-hander to Toronto.
Matz limited the Yankees to one run over six and two-thirds innings in his finest outing in two years and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his major league-leading 16th home run in a 6-2 victory on Tuesday that stopped the Blue Jays’ six-game skid and the Yankees’ six-game winning streak.
“It’s fun coming back here, just being around the city and the pulse of New York,” Matz said. “You definitely feel the energy.’”
A 29-year-old left-hander from Stony Brook, N.Y., Matz won 11 games for the Mets in 2019 but faltered to an 0-5 record and 9.68 E.R.A. in last year’s pandemic-shortened season. The Mets traded him to Toronto in January with a 36-43 record over seven seasons in Queens.
With his father and uncle in the stands, Matz said he felt pumped up. He reached 96.4 miles-an-hour, up from an average of 94.7 for his fastball coming in.
“He was on. He was throwing all his pitches for strikes,” Blue Jays Manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He’s got what it takes to be a really good starter in the big leagues, because he’s got good stuff.”
Matz (6-2), who entered with a 8.25 E.R.A. in three appearances in the Bronx, gave up six hits, struck out a season-high 10 and walked none. The Yankees didn’t advance a runner past first until the seventh inning, when Clint Frazier doubled and Kyle Higashioka followed with an R.B.I. single on Matz’s 112th and final pitch — his most since June 2019.
“He’s got stuff that plays really well,” Frazier said, “and I think that his fastball plays up in a sense because sometimes he makes you think that other pitches are coming.”
Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Romano finished with one-hit relief, giving up an unearned run in the ninth, and Toronto improved to 5-2 against the Yankees this season.
Corey Kluber (4-3), making his first start after pitching a no-hitter for the Yankees, had his outing cut short after three innings by shoulder tightness. The team said the two-time Cy Young Award winner will have an M.R.I.
“I wouldn’t say alarmed at this point. I wish we knew more,” said Kluber, who was limited to one inning by a right shoulder injury last season. “It doesn’t feel at all like what I dealt with last year.”
Bo Bichette reached on an infield single with one out in the third for the first hit off Kluber, a 35-year-old right-hander who pitched his first no-hitter at Texas last Wednesday. Guerrero followed with a drive into the right-field bullpen, giving a career-high for homers and 41 R.B.I., and stopping a 37-inning scoreless streak for Yankees starters.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered off Michael King in the fourth and shortstop Gleyber Torres made a two-run throwing error that extended the lead to 5-0 in the seventh. Randal Grichuk homered against Justin Wilson in the ninth, his 16th against the Yankees since 2018.