“Tonight’s on me,” he said. “I was bad out there.”
DeGrom, the National League’s reigning Cy Young Award winner, threw 97 pitches, including 64 strikes.
The Twins won despite the Mets’ having plenty of offensive highlights. Michael Conforto hit a home run for the third game in a row, Pete Alonso homered twice, and Brandon Nimmo broke out of his early-season slump by going 2 for 4 with a home run and a double.
With the Mets’ lineup doing its part to put runs on the board, it was a role reversal for deGrom, who posted a 10-9 record despite his 1.70 earned run average last season thanks to the Mets’ struggles at the plate. He had not allowed more than three runs in any of his previous 31 starts.
In all, Minnesota had 17 hits.
DeGrom’s pitch count rose quickly. He threw 15 pitches in the first inning and 31 in the second, and he was up to 76 after the third. While he struck out the first batter of the game, he recorded just two more the rest of the way. He had previously become the first Met starter in team history to post double-digit strikeouts in his first two starts of the season.
A bright spot for the Mets, even in a loss, came when catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who said his arm felt better than ever, threw out Max Kepler as he tried to steal second base in the fourth inning.
“Had a couple of good throws,” d’Arnaud said. “I would have rather won the game, though.”
Instead, the game belonged to Minnesota from start to finish, even as the Mets rallied for four runs in the ninth inning. Polanco had punctuated his night in the eighth with a two-run homer off reliever Robert Gsellman that provided more than enough insurance.
From his bunt to his homer and everything in between, it was all Minnesota on a night that had begun with deGrom chasing history.
“I’ve been through it before, and hopefully I’m around long enough to have a couple more,” deGrom said. “I know there are a lot of good pitchers who have had days like this.”