BALTIMORE - As the Mets mulled their latest innings-limit plan for Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom went to the mound Tuesday night against the Orioles feeling as unfettered as his flowing locks.
No innings limits exist for deGrom. That's terrific news for the Mets, because at this moment, the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year might be (shush) even better than Harvey.
DeGrom continued his dominant sophomore season by allowing one run in 72/3 innings to lower his ERA to 1.98 and Curtis Granderson homered twice as the Mets snapped a three-game skid with a 5-3 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards.
The Mets, who during the weekend dropped three in a row to the Pirates at home, enjoyed a homelike atmosphere as many in the crowd of 34,068 were wearing the blue and orange.
DeGrom (12-6) is second in the majors in ERA to Zack Greinke of the Dodgers (1.58). As things stand right now, that could be your Game 2 matchup in the NLDS at Dodger Stadium.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, even though Tuesday night's victory gave the Mets a five-game lead over Washington in the NL East going into the Nationals' late game at Colorado. Plus, maybe deGrom would start Game 1 over Harvey (whom the Mets revealed will probably have a start skipped in the next few weeks).
DeGrom allowed five hits and walked one with six strikeouts. With the Mets leading 3-1 in the eighth, manager Terry Collins removed deGrom after 100 pitches and brought in Tyler Clippard to face potential tying run Gerrardo Parra, who homered in the sixth.
Parra hit a screamer to right that Granderson caught at the wall with a leap.
The game was delayed 41 minutes before the start as the infield was covered because of the threat of rain. As so often happens, it did not rain.
Granderson led off the game with a homer off Kevin Gausman (2-5). It was Granderson's major league-best seventh leadoff homer of the season, a Mets single-season record. Jose Reyes had six in 2006.
Daniel Murphy sliced a two-out double to left in the third to score Wilmer Flores from first to make it 2-0.
Flores would have been out by plenty if the Orioles had executed the relay throw properly. Leftfielder Henry Urrutia overthrew the first cutoff man. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop was in position to catch it, but he dropped the ball as Flores scored without a throw home.
Granderson hit his second home run of the game and 22nd of the season to make it 3-0 in the fifth. Centerfielder Adam Jones made a leaping try at the wall and appeared to have made the catch. But he did not.
DeGrom was saved from giving up his first run when Michael Conforto threw out J.J. Hardy at the plate for the final out of the fifth.
The Orioles got on the board in the sixth when Parra homered to right to make it 3-1.
The Mets scored twice in the ninth, with Murphy picking up a sacrifice fly and another run scoring on a wild pitch.
The Orioles made it 5-3 in the bottom half when Jeurys Familia walked in a pair of runs after a defensive miscue by Lucas Duda. But Familia got Manny Machado to bounce to third for his 33rd save.