New York Mets starter Jacob deGrom “keeps taking care of business” wins in return to Citi Field

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NEW YORK — Jacob deGrom hit 12 and led a perfect game in the sixth inning of his second start all season, leading the New York Mets 5-2 past the Atlanta Braves on Sunday for their 12th win in 14 games to achieve.

Pete Alonso drove in two runs, and the first-place Mets finished the race with 19 strikeouts, including three in a row from closer Edwin Diaz to finish it. They took Atlanta four out of five in their National League East showdown and extended their divisional lead to 6 games over the defending World Series champions.

A dominant deGrom (1-0), fielding at home for the first time in 13 months, retired his first 17 batters — 12 on strikeouts — before defeating Ehire Adrianza with two outs in sixth place.

“Getting out there was a little emotional,” deGrom said. “I took a second, tried to absorb everything, and then tried to focus and get down to business.”

Dansby Swanson followed that up with a homer in two runs on deGrom’s 76th and final pitch, making it 5-2.

“I just feel bad for anyone who has to face him,” Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo said in his on-field postgame interview. “He throws 101, 102 [mph] out there and he’s tracking everything. Hats off to him for recovering and getting back to us. He’s prepared and ready to go.”

The two-time Cy Young Award winner missed the final three months of last season with a strain in his right forearm and a sprained elbow, then was suspended late in spring training with a stress reaction in his right shoulder blade. He finally made his return Tuesday at the Washington Nationals, most recently throwing five innings of a one-run ball in a rare Mets loss.

“The whole time the process was very slow and I tried not to overdo it, but I felt good the whole time,” deGrom said of his journey back to the majors. “I think I was able to take a step back and take a look at where I was mechanically … trying to put myself in a better position to stay sane.”

Mets fans had to wait a little longer than planned to see deGrom go to work as rain delayed the start of the game by 20 minutes. When the game started, however, deGrom didn’t disappoint the crowd.

“It’s a pick-me-up,” said Mets manager Buck Showalter. “The fans were huge for us. Coming here, hot as it is, for them to come out and support the team really fed the lads.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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