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Jacob deGrom dominant in first game of MLB’s grip crackdown, extends scoreless streak to 30 innings; Mets and Braves split

100. 99. 100.

If there were any concerns about Jacob deGrom’s arm heading into his start on Monday, those radar gun readings on his first three pitches quieted them immediately.

That trio of pitches became a strikeout to Ronald Acuña Jr., one of six deGrom had in the Mets’ (37-30) 4-2 win over Atlanta. Playing the first of two seven-inning games in a doubleheader, the Mets knew that something spectacular could happen given the smaller number of outs. If not a seven-inning no-hitter, maybe a seven-inning complete game.

Kevan Smith came up in the top of the fifth with Atlanta (34-37) still searching for its first hit. He lofted a ball high into the afternoon sky. Left fielder Dominic Smith and center fielder Albert Almora Jr. drifted toward the ball, but neither of them wound up beneath it, left instead wondering why the other person didn’t catch it. That went for a double, but the rally ended one batter later when deGrom popped up Pablo Sandoval with an inside fastball at 100 miles per hour.

That ended the Braves’ only legitimate (albeit wind-aided) threat against deGrom. He bowed out after five innings and 70 pitches, allowing just the one hit on the miscommunication in left center. When asked if he would have managed the game differently if a no-hitter was still intact, Luis Rojas struggled.

“I can’t tell you that,” Rojas said when asked if he would have left deGrom in the game. “Maybe it would have been a different conversation. The health, the protection, being safe, more important than a special game at this point. It’s tough to give you an answer straight up right now.”

DeGrom’s dominance was much-needed, as the Mets fell 1-0 in the nightcap.

While deGrom couldn’t get his first no-no, he did get his first sticky stuff check. Major League Baseball’s enhanced enforcement of its foreign substance rules means that pitchers’ gloves, hats, and belts are now subject to on field checks. As his teammates told us on Twitter, deGrom was clean.

“I expected it,” deGrom said of the checks. “I said ‘What all do you guys need?’ They said ‘glove, hat and belt.’ I handed them that stuff and went along my way.”

The Mets played with a lead for basically the entire game, taking a 1-0 lead when Muller threw a wild pitch in the bottom of the first that allowed Jonathan Villar to scamper home. The speedster reached on a leadoff walk, moved up to second on a Francisco Lindor bunt, then tagged up on a Smith sac fly to get himself to third and set up the run.

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Smith smoked a bases-clearing double in the fifth to extend the lead.

On a day where both teams combined for seven hits, some good old-fashioned small ball helped the Mets to their seventh straight win in deGrom starts. Monday’s mind-blowing deGrom stats:

-His ERA has shrunk to 0.50.

-He’s thrown 30 straight scoreless innings.

-He is now the only pitcher in MLB history to allow one earned run or fewer in 12 straight starts.

Most importantly, he got there without any new injury scares.

The Mets were hit with some devastating injury news between games, though. Joey Lucchesi, Jeurys Familia and Robert Gsellman will all spend time on the injured list, and in game two, their teammates played as though they were grieving from the news. They managed only five hits in the 1-0 loss and rarely looked competitive at the plate until fruitlessly loading the bases in the seventh and final inning. Three Mets also ran into outs on the bases.

During the game, the carnage piled even higher, as Jonathan Villar left gingerly after legging out a double. His pinch runner, Jose Peraza, was thrown out when Francisco Lindor grounded to short and he unwisely tried to move up. Not to be outdone, Lindor then got picked off first base to end the Amazin’s sixth inning quest for glory.

Jerad Eickhoff, the former Phillies pitcher making his Mets debut, was miraculous in his spot start. He relinquished just three hits and no runs in four innings. Like deGrom in years past though, Eickhoff was granted no run support. Acuña Jr. demolished a home run off reliever Miguel Castro that looked more linear than parabolic, and that was all Atlanta needed to salvage a split in the doubleheader.

Acuña Jr. made his presence felt all over the field. Not only did his frozen rope over the center field wall count as Atlanta’s only run, he also quelled the Mets’ first rally of the night with an outfield assist to nail Pete Alonso charging into third base. In the lifeless second game, Acuña was the lone heartbeat, and the Mets will see him two more times before embarking on another intradivisional doubleheader Friday against the Phillies.