Dominant deGrom pitches surging Mets to 5-2 win over Braves

NEW YORK — Jacob deGrom struck out 12 and carried a perfect game into the sixth inning of his second start all season, pitching the New York Mets past the Atlanta Braves 5-2 on Sunday for their 12th victory in 14 games.

Pete Alonso drove in two runs and the first-place Mets finished with 19 strikeouts — including three in a row from closer Edwin Díaz to end it. They took four of five from Atlanta in their NL East showdown, extending their division lead to 6 1/2 games over the defending World Series champions.

Pitching at home for the first time in 13 months, a dominant deGrom (1-0) retired his first 17 batters — 12 on strikeouts — before walking No. 9 batter Ehire Adrianza with two outs in the sixth.

Dansby Swanson followed with a two-run homer on the 76th and final pitch from deGrom, making it 5-2.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner missed the final three months last season with right forearm tightness and a sprained elbow, then was shut down late in spring training because of a stress reaction in his right scapula. He finally returned Tuesday at Washington, throwing five innings of one-run ball in a rare Mets loss lately.

New York fans had to wait a little longer than they planned to see deGrom go to work as the start of the game was delayed 20 minutes by rain. Once play began, however, deGrom didn’t disappoint the Citi Field crowd.