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Jacob deGrom strikes out 14 in loss to Rays

For Jacob deGrom to win a third consecutive Cy Young Award, joining Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson as the only pitchers in MLB history to do so, he will need help from others around the National League. But in a 2-1 loss to the Rays on Monday at Citi Field, deGrom at least gave himself a chance.

The two-time winner matched his career high with 14 strikeouts, joining Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden — as he has in so many other chapters of franchise history — as the only Mets pitchers to record multiple 14-strikeout games in a season. deGrom allowed two runs to raise his ERA slightly to 2.14, fifth in the NL. But he also took back the NL strikeout lead, with 94, and jumped back into the top 10 in innings.

deGrom, Rick Porcello and David Peterson also became the first starters in Mets history to strike out at least 10 batters in three consecutive games.

For a time, it seemed as if deGrom might accomplish even more than that at Citi Field. He struck out the first three batters he faced, all on 100 mph fastballs. But a leadoff walk led to a run-scoring rally in the second inning for the Rays, and a Nate Lowe home run added another run in the fourth. After that, deGrom retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced.

The Mets scored their only run on a Jeff McNeil RBI single in the fifth.