A historic season is turning into a frustrating one for Jacob deGrom.
The Mets ace was pulled from a second straight start with an arm injury, this time leaving after three perfect innings with right shoulder soreness, but the bullpen stepped up to finish a three-hitter in a 6-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
One start after being pulled from a gem against San Diego with flexor tendinitis in his right arm, deGrom went directly down the clubhouse tunnel after finishing the third against the Cubs.
“Felt good warming up, felt really good in the first and second inning, then there in the third my shoulder was sore,” deGrom said. “This is getting old. I want to be out there competing.”
DeGrom said initial tests ruled out a serious issue, but he planned to get imaging and more observation Thursday. He and Manager Luis Rojas both said it was too early to know if he’d go on the injured list.
“I expect to go out there and give us depth and I haven’t done that like I expect out of myself,” deGrom said. “The bullpen’s done a great job of picking me up. But I can’t keep doing that to those guys.”
DeGrom appeared to grimace after a third-inning pitch to Eric Sogard. He threw 51 pitches, the last a 99 mile-per-hour fastball to strike out pitcher Robert Stock, his seventh straight strikeout victim and eighth punch-out out of nine hitters.
He’s the first pitcher since at least 1901 with at least eight strikeouts over three perfect innings to start a game, according to STATS.
“First couple of pitches, I was like, ‘OK, maybe it’ll go away,’” deGrom said. “And it continued on every pitch throughout the inning. And that’s when I was like ‘OK maybe we’ve got to be smart.’
“Again, I keep saying it’s early, but this is frustrating coming out of games like that.”
DeGrom pitched one-hit ball over six scoreless innings against the Padres on Friday night before leaving with the flexor issue. He had an M.R.I. the next day that revealed no damage, and he resumed his usual between-start routine. He started Wednesday on his standard four days of rest.
He also had a start pushed back in early May because of a sore right side and then exited a start against Arizona on May 9 when he aggravated the injury. He was placed on the injured list two days later.
DeGrom returned May 25 and gave up a second-inning homer to the Colorado Rockies’ Ryan McMahon. That’s the most recent run allowed by deGrom, whose 25 consecutive scoreless innings have shrunk his E.R.A. to 0.54, the lowest mark ever by a pitcher through his first 11 starts.
DeGrom also had an R.B.I. single in the second on Wednesday, raising his average to .423. He has six R.B.I. compared to four earned runs allowed this year, and he could be among the front-runners for the National League Most Valuable Player Award if he stays healthy.
“What he’s doing is just amazing and to be on the other side of it obviously is no fun, but you’ve got to appreciate what he’s doing as a competitor — he just mowed us down,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “I hope he’s all right. Even his at-bat — that’s the craziest stat of all.”
Sean Reid-Foley (2-0) relieved deGrom and earned the win after allowing one run over two innings. Rizzo ended the bid for a combined perfect game or no-hitter by homering with one out in the fourth.
Kevin Pillar opened the scoring with an R.B.I. double off Stock (0-1) in the second and homered in the fifth. Dominic Smith hit a one-out solo homer in the third and added a run-scoring grounder in the fourth immediately after Francisco Lindor drew a bases-loaded walk.
The Cubs stranded two runners each in the fourth and sixth against Reid-Foley and Aaron Loup before collecting two hits, including Rafael Ortega’s two-run homer, off Drew Smith in the ninth. Edwin Diaz entered and retired pinch-hitter Willson Contreras on a flyout to center for his 14th save.
Stock, who was recalled from Triple-A Iowa before the game, allowed five runs, four hits and six walks while striking out three in his first big league start.
Cole and Chapman Shut Down Toronto
Gerrit Cole of the Yankees allowed two runs in eight innings of work. He struck out four. Credit…Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Gerrit Cole pitched eight effective innings, pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez connected for a two-run homer and Aroldis Chapman dodged trouble in the ninth as the Yankees held off the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2, on Wednesday night.
Sanchez’s 10th homer of the season in the seventh gave the Yankees back-to-back wins behind key pinch hits, following Clint Frazier’s go-ahead double in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s 6-5 victory.
Chapman allowed hits to the first two batters in the ninth, putting runners at second and third, but escaped for his 14th save.
“They definitely made me work,” Chapman said through a translator. “To be able to come in and grind it out and get the victory, it was awesome.”
Cole (8-3) held the Blue Jays to four hits. He struck out four and walked one.
Marcus Semien and Cavan Biggio homered for Toronto, which has lost three straight and five of seven. Ross Stripling (2-4) limited the Yankees to three hits and two walks over six and a third innings and tied a season high with nine strikeouts.
In the ninth, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led off with a single and Teoscar Hernandez followed with a double to right field. After striking out Randal Grichuk, Chapman fielded a comebacker and started a play in which Sánchez threw out Guerrero, who was trying to retreat to third base. The call was upheld after a 70-second video review.
Chapman then got Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to fly out to end the game.
“For me, he’s the best closer in the game,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said. “You have to keep making pitches, especially when you’re up against an offense that put together really good at-bats. When you’re the best at something you do, you’re out there with some confidence.”
Plate umpire C.B. Bucknor was hit in the mask by Chapman’s first pitch to Gurriel, a ball Bucknor ruled was fouled off by Gurriel. However, Bucknor didn’t immediately signal foul ball as he staggered from being struck, and Hernandez came almost all the way home before being stopped.
Replays showed Gurriel may not have made contact with the pitch. Toronto Manager Charlie Montoyo argued for a review. The umpires convened, affirmed among themselves it was a foul ball, and informed Montoyo the play was not reviewable.
When asked if his heart raced during the ninth, Boone smiled and referred to the procedure he had in March: “I have a pacemaker, so it keeps it nice and steady.”