Often they failed to connect at all.
DeGrom clubbed a homer and struck out a career-high 14 in seven shutout innings to help the New York Mets beat Miami 6-4 Wednesday night and complete a three-game sweep.
DeGrom (2-0) allowed three hits, walked one and ended his streak of five consecutive losses to the lowly Marlins. Only one Miami runner reached second base against him.
"Tonight was probably the best I've felt in a long time," deGrom said.
That's quite an admission, considering he's the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner.
"He just does the same thing every time," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "You look up at the end and it's something really impressive. He probably has the best stuff in all the major leagues, maybe for a long time. What he's doing is historic."
The Mets nearly wasted deGrom's latest gem. They took a 6-0 lead into the ninth, but Miami eventually brought the tying run to the plate.
The Mets held on, and headed back for their home opener at Citi Field on Thursday against Washington with a 5-1 record.
"You want to come out of the gates playing good baseball," deGrom said, "and hopefully continue to do that all year."
DeGrom extended the NL's longest active scoreless streak to 26 innings and allowed less than four runs for the 31st consecutive start, extending his big league record. Miami was the last team to score more than three against him -- last April 10.
DeGrom had made eight starts versus the Marlins since his most recent win over them on July 6, 2016. He's 5-6 against Miami, which has beaten him more than any other team.
An infielder at Stetson University before he was converted into a pitcher, deGrom pulled the first pitch from Trevor Richards in the third inning into the Mets' bullpen for his second career home run.
DeGrom said he stepped to the plate ready to swing and thinking about hitting a homer. And he took the mound in the seventh thinking about strikeouts.
"I knew if I struck out the side it would be a career high," he said. "Once I got the first two guys, it became a goal."
The homer had deGrom smiling when he returned to the dugout, but he said the strikeouts gave him more satisfaction. He's the first Mets pitcher to start a season with consecutive double-digit strikeout games.
He departed after throwing 114 pitches, a total he topped just twice last year. Two Mets relievers allowed four runs in the ninth before Edwin Diaz came on to get Curtis Granderson to fly out with a runner on for his third save.
Richards (0-1) came up short in his matchup with deGrom, allowing three runs in six innings.
"When you have a guy like that over there, it's tough," Richards said. "You can't make many mistakes, and I made a couple."
Amed Rosario tripled home the Mets' first run in the second. Rookie Pete Alonso doubled home a run in the third, and he scored on Robinson Cano's double in the seventh.
New York rested catcher Wilson Ramos, but he delivered a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth to hike his average to .474 and make the score 6-0.
DeGrom's start failed to stir South Florida from its apathy toward baseball. Attendance was 7,486.
For the second year in a row, the Mets are off to a 5-1 start and the Marlins have started 2-5.
"People probably think I'm crazy, but I like our club," Miami manager Don Mattingly said. "They're going to pitch and be competitive. We're going to be in a ton of games."
Mets: LF Brandon Nimmo was back in the lineup after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch Tuesday.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (0-0, 6.00) is scheduled to start their home opener Thursday when he pitches for the second time in a row against the Nationals and RHP Stephen Strasburg (0-0, 6.00). Syndergaard has won his past seven home decisions.
Marlins: Following a day off, the Marlins begin their first trip Friday when RHP Pablo Lopez (1-0, 5.06) starts at Atlanta.
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DeGrom: Knew he was going for career-high K's
Jacob DeGrom told reporters that he knew he was going to get his career-high in strike outs after fanning the first two batters he faced.