March 07, 2015

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom was efficient Saturday, needing just 27 pitches to get through three innings in the New York Mets' 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves in a split-squad game.

DeGrom allowed one run and two hits and struck out one.

''Very pleased,'' deGrom said.

''That's the first time I've been up and down three times. In live (batting practice) we were just up and down twice,'' he said. ''(Pitching coach) Dan (Warthen) mentioned to me if I keep it low, I might be able to go out there for a third inning and that was kind of my goal today.''

DeGrom kept his pitch count down, throwing 22 strikes.

''That's his game,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ''His game is the command of his stuff. You saw it from the time he got here. When he's on, he's actually down in the zone even more than that.''

Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz, acquired in the offseason trade that sent Evan Gattis to Houston, gave up one run and four hits in 1 2-3 innings.

Mets captain David Wright got his first hit of the spring, a double down the right field line. Michael Conforto, New York's top pick in the 2014 draft, drove in three runs with a double and two singles.

Eric Young Jr., who played last season with the Mets, drove in the lone run for the Braves.


Foltynewicz, competing to be the Braves' fifth starter, threw 44 pitches and left the game with the bases loaded. He said was nervous about making his first start of the spring.

''I never really started in a big league game or even a spring training big league game, so all I wanted to do was throw strikes and I did that for the most part,'' he said. ''I just wanted to get the jitters out, get the nerves out with it being the first one of the year. Just keep it rolling.''

One bright spot for the 23-year-old right-hander was his changeup. Foltynewicz said he never threw it until he became a professional, but coaches in the Astros' organization really pushed him to develop the pitch.


Conforto said he was shocked when a teammate told him he was starting in left field, but it clearly didn't throw him off his game. The former Oregon State star had a hit in each of his first three at-bats, including a two-run double off Manny Banuelos.

''I kind of surprised myself a little bit,'' said Conforto, who was called up from minor league camp for the game. ''I felt very comfortable. My goal was just to come out here and have fun and embrace the moment. The opportunity to be out with these guys was pretty cool. I had a lot of fun. It was a great experience.''


A fan made an impressive, one-handed, barehanded grab on a hard-hit foul ball by the Braves' Kelly Johnson in the first inning. ... The game started at 1:10 p.m., but was played with the stadium lights on because it was overcast.


Braves: Cody Martin start on Sunday against Houston's Scott Feldman.

Mets: Host the Red Sox on Sunday. Jon Niese starts for the Mets against Rick Porcello.

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