By Ben Walker, AP baseball writer
Fresh off the All-Star break, Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets looked far more like contenders than the Colorado Rockies.
DeGrom came out dealing once again, striking out 11 and winning his sixth straight start as the Mets began what could be a last-chance homestand by routing Colorado 14-2 Friday night.
“There’s a sense of urgency, there’s no question about it,” New York manager Terry Collins said.
Michael Conforto and T.J. Rivera homered, Yoenis Cespedes got four hits and deGrom contributed two singles for the Mets, who trail Colorado by 9 1/2 games for the second NL wild card.
The Rockies posted their best record ever before the All-Star break, but absorbed their most lopsided defeat of the season. They’ve lost 14 of the last 19.
“It’s one game, against a guy who was on,” manager Bud Black said. “It’s one game.”
Rockies slugger Nolan Arenado exited a few innings early after slipping on the bases on a misty night. His 70 RBIs are tied for the major league lead.
“Little precautionary on the hip,” Black said.
The Mets opened a string of 10 straight at Citi Field. With the trade deadline looming, general manager Sandy Alderson said before the game: “Things would have to go exceedingly well for us, realistically, to change direction.”
DeGrom (10-3), however, isn’t likely to move anywhere despite recent speculation that high-flying Houston wants him.
“I saw one thing on it. I didn’t look over it that much,” deGrom said.
“All of that stuff is out of our control,” he added. “We’ve got a job to do here.”
DeGrom, snubbed for the All-Star team, gave up four hits and one earned run in eight innings. The righty ace has a 1.53 ERA during his winning streak and has fanned at least 10 seven times this year.
DeGrom threw away Arenado’s infield chopper in the first inning. Arenado rounded first base when the throw got away, fell to the dirt and retreated to the bag. Black and a trainer checked Arenado, and the third baseman left in the fifth.
Gerardo Parra followed with an RBI single, but deGrom retired the next 14 batters.
Jon Gray (2-1) was tagged for eight runs on nine hits and three walks in two-plus innings.
“It’s disappointing because it’s a really important game for me to start things off in the second half,” he said.
DeGrom hit an RBI single that put the Mets ahead 2-1 in the second. Cespedes got two hits in a six-run third, including a double for his first extra-base hit in 12 games. Cespedes later made a strong throw from left field to nail a runner at the plate.
“If we’re going to get in it, he’s got to lead the way,” Collins said.
A day after Mets minor leaguer Tim Tebow hit a game-ending home run for Class A St. Lucie, Alderson was asked whether the 29-year-old former NFL quarterback was in line for a September promotion to the majors.
“I don’t foresee that kind of scenario,” Alderson said.
Tebow hit .327 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his first 16 games after being moved up to the advanced Class A Florida State League.
INF-OF Ian Desmond (strained calf) is traveling with the team. Black said Desmond might not need a minor league rehab assignment and his return could come “sooner than you think.”