Soroka outpitches deGrom in victory
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’”
Jacob deGrom delivers a pitch against Atlanta during the first inning on Wednesday.