WASHINGTON (AP) — Jacob deGrom dazzled in his first major league start in more than a year, allowing one run on three hits and striking out six in five innings before a bullpen meltdown cost the New York Mets in a 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
Sidelined for the second half of last season by an elbow injury and shut down late in spring training because of a stress reaction in his right scapula, deGrom got a standing ovation from a crowd full of Mets fans prior to his first game back in almost 13 months. Serenaded with applause when he delivered a 99 mph fastball on his first meaningful pitch since July 7, 2021, deGrom threw 46 of 59 for strikes before coming out of the game around the time the team planned for. He averaged 99.7 mph on 31 fastballs, throwing 13 in triple digits and topping out at 101.6 mph.
The 34-year-old two-time NL Cy Young Award winner got all but one of his strikeouts swinging and was much sharper than his final rehab start in the minors last week when he allowed four runs in four innings on 67 pitches. He left with a no-decision after Francisco Lindor homered for the NL East leaders in the sixth.
Mets reliever Stephen Nogosek (0-1) took the loss after allowing a two-run homer to Luis Garcia and a solo shot to Yadiel Hernandez in the sixth. Yoan López also gave up a homer in the seventh, when he got big help from center fielder Brandon Nimmo on a diving catch to end the inning.
Making his first start of the season in the aftermath of the blockbuster trade that sent Nationals superstar outfielder Juan Soto and veteran first baseman Josh Bell to San Diego, Cory Abbott allowed two runs and struck out three in five shutout innings. Victor Arano (1-0) got the win in relief.
While the Nationals were selling, the…