KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The end of Jacob deGrom's smooth ride on the road came in the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.
Unable to stifle the stubborn Kansas City Royals, deGrom gave up four disheartening runs in a 7-1 defeat Wednesday night that left the New York Mets down 2-0 in the World Series as they head home to Citi Field.
Trying to become the first major league pitcher to win four road games in one postseason, deGrom ran into a Kansas City lineup that caused him fits with consistent contact.
Only three times did the Royals swing and miss against the right-hander, a career worst for deGrom, according to STATS. He managed only two strikeouts, matching a season low.
Like fellow ace Matt Harvey the night before, deGrom faded in the middle innings and squandered a lead. Now, after throwing two of their top starters in Kansas City, the reeling Mets will turn to rookie Noah Syndergaard in Game 3 on Friday night, hoping he has more left in the tank than the teammates who preceded him.
After all New York did this year to rest and protect its prized young pitchers, they might be running out of fuel in late October anyway. Last season's NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom has tossed 216 innings in 2015, including the postseason.
Mets manager Terry Collins thought a five-day break between the NLCS and World Series would help his young arms, but it hasn't looked that way. After going 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 27 strikeouts in three playoff starts, deGrom couldn't keep it going against the AL champs.
He came out firing 97-98 mph fastballs and zipped through three hitless innings on 38 pitches. But first baseman Lucas Duda booted a leadoff grounder in the fourth for an error, and deGrom had to work hard to get out of trouble.
He retired Salvador Perez on a bases-loaded grounder to end the inning, but lost his touch in the fifth. The shaggy-haired deGrom issued a leadoff walk to Alex Gordon on a full-count slider and yielded an RBI single to Alcides Escobar on an 0-2 pitch.
Two outs later, Eric Hosmer snapped a 1-all tie with a two-run single and Mike Moustakas made it 4-1 with an RBI single. Kansas City batted around in the inning and had five singles.
The tenacious Royals fouled off 23 pitches against deGrom, 14 in the fifth, and it took him 35 pitches to get through the inning. He was lifted for Hansel Robles to start the sixth.
It was the first time since Sept. 22 that a Mets starter gave up four runs - and that was fill-in Logan Verrett, who isn't even on the postseason roster.
Meanwhile, the Mets managed only two soft hits by Duda off Johnny Cueto in his complete game.