(AP) — Jacob deGrom’s last outing may have brought back memories of the first time he faced the Miami Marlins.
The rookie starter earned his first home win his last time on the mound and will try to help the New York Mets complete a three-game sweep of Miami on Sunday at Citi Field.
DeGrom (2-5, 3.38 ERA) matched a season high with 11 strikeouts and had no walks over seven scoreless innings Tuesday in an 8-3 win over Atlanta. He had been 0-3 with a 2.49 ERA over his first four home starts.
The right-hander’s fastball averages 93.4 mph, and he uses it 60.2 percent of the time with a strike percentage of 62.8. His strike percentages are higher for his changeup (68.2) and curveball (69.5).
“If he keeps going out there and using both sides of the plate and throwing his offspeed stuff for strikes, because of his competitiveness, he’s going to be just fine,” manager Terry Collins said.
DeGrom earned his first big-league victory June 21 by limiting the Marlins (44-49) to five hits over seven innings with seven strikeouts in a 4-0 victory. That game began the current four-start stretch in which he’s 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA.
He could be the right person to give New York (44-50) further momentum going into the All-Star break. The Mets will try to cap this homestand with an 8-2 mark after rallying for a 5-4 win Saturday.
Collins pushed the right buttons, as Chris Young and Eric Campbell delivered as pinch hitters. Young hit a tying two-run homer in the seventh inning and Campbell singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth.
“That might be the biggest win of the year right there for us,” Collins said.
The Mets have won four straight over the Marlins to take a 7-5 lead in the season series.
Miami dropped its third straight, giving up a lead in the seventh inning or later for the second time in that span.
“That was one we should’ve been able to lock down,” manager Mike Redmond said. “We’ve had some struggles holding down a lead late in the game.”
Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton is mired in a 1-for-18 slump and has not homered in a season-worst 14 straight games.
This series features two of the NL leaders in hits. Casey McGehee has a league-best 114 for Miami and Daniel Murphy has 113 for New York.
McGehee may be able to pad his lead over the Mets second baseman Sunday since Collins indicated he may rest Murphy before he heads to the All-Star game. Campbell would likely start at second in his place.
Miami will give Brad Hand (0-1, 5.09) his fifth start of the season and third in a row since being activated off the disabled list July 3. The left-hander allowed one unearned run over 6 1-3 innings in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory at Arizona.
Hand is 1-11 with a 5.01 ERA in 19 career starts, including 0-2 with a 3.78 ERA in three against the Mets.
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