Soroka out­pitches deGrom in vic­tory

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - Sports -

AT­LANTA — No-hit­ter or not, Mike Soroka knew the Braves would be cau­tious and not let him overex­ert his right shoul­der.

“The first time I even thought about what was go­ing on was go­ing out for the sixth,” he said. “It was hap­pen­ing so quickly. You get into a rhythm that way, and that wasn’t bad as well.”

Soroka did not al­low a hit un­til the sev­enth in­ning, Fred­die Free­man home­red and drove in both runs, and the At­lanta Braves beat the strug­gling New York Mets 2-0 on Wed­nes­day.

Soroka, the youngest pitcher in the ma­jor leagues and one of base­ball’s top prospects, re­turned from a shoul­der strain that side­lined him since May 17 to out­pitch NL ERA leader Jacob deGrom in a game that lasted only 2 hours, 12 min­utes.

Mak­ing his fourth career start, Soroka (2-1) gave up one hit, one walk and struck out four in 61⁄3 in­nings . He had a sim­ple game plan.

“Pitch my game and let them ad­just to my game as op­posed to the other way around,” Soroka said. “I think we did a re­ally good job of that.”

Free­man, the NL bat­ting leader, has hit safely in 23 of his past 24 games. He drove in the first run with a sin­gle in the fourth off deGrom (4-2). He home­red off Jeremy Blevins in the eighth .

Free­man has five homers in his past seven games and 14 over­all.

At­lanta man­ager Brian Snitker said that Soroka would be on a pitch count, so it was no sur­prise when he re­placed him with A.J. Min­ter af­ter Michael Con­forto sin­gled to be­gin the sev­enth af­ter 74 pitches.

The Mets have lost 10 of their past 11 and 17 of their past 21. They went 3-6 at SunTrust Park this sea­son against the NL East-lead­ing Braves.

DeGrom (4-2) al­lowed seven hits and one run and struck out seven in seven in­nings and threw 86 pitches. He be­gan the game lead­ing with ma­jors with a 0.81 ERA since April 21, but trailed 1-0 in the fourth when Dansby Swan­son dou­bled with one out and scored on Free­man’s sin­gle.

The punch­less Mets have scored 10 runs in their past 87 in­nings. They’ve lost

deGrom’s past five out­ings even though he’s al­lowed only five runs over that span.

“He threw seven re­ally stress­ful in­nings, es­pe­cially the last cou­ple of in­nings,”

New York man­ager Mickey Call­away said. “He had to grind thor­ough there and did a great job of keep­ing us in the game and giv­ing us a chance to win like he does every time.”

Con­forto moved to sec­ond on a wild pitch by Soroka in the sev­enth, but didn’t ad­vance when Min­ter

struck out Brandon Nimmo and Jay Bruce popped up. Soroka’s other base run­ner was Bruce, who walked to be­gin the sec­ond and was erased on a dou­ble play.

Arodys Viz­caino earned his 12th save in 14 chances in a shaky ninth. Nimmo dou­bled with two outs,

ad­vanc­ing Con­forto to third, be­fore Bruce popped up to end it.

DeGrom said he wasn’t blam­ing team­mates for the lack of run sup­port, but third base­man Todd Fra­zier summed up the state of the Mets’ of­fense. “Af­ter the game, I said, ‘Dude, I’m sorry’”

Cur­tis Compton / TNS

Jacob deGrom de­liv­ers a pitch against At­lanta dur­ing the first in­ning on Wed­nes­day.

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