– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
NEW YORK — Since the unofficial beginning of summer, there were a number of steps that the New York Mets had to successfully climb to realistically call themselves a playoff contender in the National League. Probably the biggest psychological hurdle for the Mets was cleared before their regularly scheduled game on Monday night.
Jacob deGrom continued the team’s dominant pitching in the second half of the season, allowing just five hits and two runs over seven innings, as New York defeated the Miami Marlins 6-2 in the first game of a doubleheader.
Today’s game was a makeup of a rain out back on May 12, fitting in the sense that the win officially dug the Mets out of the wrong end of the .500 mark, reaching level pegging for the first time since the day after Memorial Day, May 28.
Jeff McNeill, the National League leader in batting average, hit a home run on the first pitch the Mets saw offensively while deGrom helped himself at the plate with a two-run single in the fourth inning that turned out to be the decisive knock of the game.
“It’s definitely another step up, but we still have to win baseball games to get back in the Wild Card,” deGrom said after the game. “We’ve still got work to do. I think everybody in there knows that. We’re excited to be at .500, but we still have to go out and win baseball games.”
New York now sports a Major League-best 16-6 record since the All-Star Break, led by a starting rotation that owns a 2.59 ERA in that span. After allowing run on back-to-back doubles in the second inning that tied the game at 1-1, deGrom settled down in retiring 15 of the final 16 batters he faced.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Monday afternoon’s game, with all photos taken by ALOST photographer Arturo Holmes. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 21 pictures in total.