NEW YORK -- The best team in baseball rolled into the Big Apple and rolled right over the Mets on Friday night. Yu Darvish allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts in his Dodgers debut, a 6-0 win at Citi Field that kept his new club's division lead over Arizona at 14 games.
"It's one start," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, "but he did everything we hoped he would do."
The buzz of Darvish's debut brought about a near-playoff atmosphere, with attending luminaries including Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax and Joe Torre, former Mets manager Bobby Valentine and former Yankee Alex Rodriguez.
Chris Taylor homered to lead off the game and Yasiel Puig blasted his career-high 20th homer in the second off Mets starter Jacob deGrom (12-5), who threw 99 pitches in five innings with eight strikeouts in his second straight loss after he won eight straight. Puig's 13 home runs in the 8-hole are the most in Majors. Chase Utley crushed a two-run homer off Josh Smoker in the sixth inning.
"For C.T. to get a lead and have Yu take the field with a lead, that's comforting," said Roberts. "For Chase to rise to the occasion, it was a big boost for our club to get a little separation. Up and down the lineup, it's what we've done all year."
Darvish (7-9), acquired at Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline from Texas for three prospects, became the first Dodger with 10 strikeouts in his debut since Kaz Ishii in 2002. According to Elias, Darvish is the first Dodgers pitcher since 1900 with 10 strikeouts and no more than one walk in his first start with the team.
"I know I could have run him out there for another inning; goes without saying," said Roberts. "But a little bit we take the long view as we do with a lot of starting pitchers, what the future holds and to put him and us in the best position. He held velocity, and it seemed he got better as the game went on."
It was Darvish's first win since June 12, coming off the worst start of his MLB career (10 runs allowed in 3 2/3 innings), and it required him to shake off an uneven first inning that he said had more to do with bad recent memories than first-game jitters.
"It's not just about being a Dodger in my first outing or anything like that," Darvish said through an interpreter. "I gave up 10 runs in my last outing. To come back from that, I was a little concerned about that. I was really worried because the Dodgers have such great pitchers, and I didn't want to pitch bad in the first outing."
The Dodgers are 5-0 against the Mets this year, having completed a four-game sweep in Los Angeles in June. The Dodgers have won 11 of 12, 22 of 25 since July 4, and 42 of 49 since June 7.
"You can't make mistakes," Mets manager Terry Collins said of facing Los Angeles. "You saw what happened tonight. You've got to make pitches. You've got to get ready. Yu was very, very good tonight. We didn't have a lot of opportunities. ... But they're outstanding."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED L.A. long ball: In their four-game sweep of the Mets in L.A., the Dodgers slugged 15 home runs. The Dodgers picked up where they left off, as Taylor opened this series with his 14th homer of the season. Taylor also singled, walked and scored three times.
N.Y. skyline: Darvish's 6-foot-5 frame served him well in escaping a first-inning jam. With two out and runners on the corners, Curtis Granderson's liner toward center field was speared by Darvish with a leap to end the inning.
"He was pretty classic Darvish." -- Mets outfielder Jay Bruce
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After singling to lead off the bottom of the third inning, deGrom became the first Mets pitcher to steal a base since Oliver Perez in 2008. He reached a top speed of 28.1 feet per second on the play, according to Statcast™. Among Mets, only Jose Reyes and Juan Lagares have run faster on stolen base attempts this season.
Not one to be outdone, Amed Rosario, who collected his first hit at Citi Field, reached a speed of 29.4 feet per second on his first career steal in the fifth -- fastest of any Mets basestealer this season.
"I am very thankful for the reaction I got from the fans," Rosario said of his first career home game. "For me, it's a pleasure."
Visibly frustrated after being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning, deGrom smashed his lumber against the Mets' bat rack, snapping it at the handle. It was the first time in 10 outings that deGrom, who finished with 99 pitches and recorded a hit in his first at-bat, did not complete six innings.
"I wanted to go back out there," deGrom said. "If you're playing the game, you want to stay out there as long as you can. I wanted to get through six innings."
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers:Rich Hill, NL Pitcher of the Month for July, starts Saturday in the 1:05 p.m. PT game with the Mets. He allowed the Mets one run in five innings in an 8-2 win in Los Angeles on June 21 after losing his previous two career decisions against New York.
Mets: Look for Wilmer Flores to re-enter the starting lineup versus the left-handed Hill when the Mets return to Citi Field on Saturday for a 4:05 p.m. ET rematch against the Dodgers. Right-hander Seth Lugo, who gave up five runs in five innings last time out in Seattle, starts for the Mets.