MLB Tuesday: Jacob deGrom a dual threat in return; Hill matches the Big Unit; Vlad Jr. doing it all

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom returned to the mound after a brief stint on the injured list, and he didn't miss a beat. 

Considering how their season has gone with injuries, it's no surprise the Mets didn't push deGrom more than five innings in his return from a sore muscle in his side. 

He allowed one run on three hits and struck out nine … and his ERA rose to 0.80. But as we've seen many times before, his teammates provided little run support.

In fact, deGrom did his best to help his own cause. His fourth-inning shot to right field was his eighth hit of the season and it raised his batting average to a robust .471.

This hustle double should have been Jacob deGrom’s second two-bagger — and his eighth hit — of the season. But it appears he came off the bag for a fraction of a second. Thus, he is out. pic.twitter.com/1VDiXtCNxL

And here's a crazy stat: In 45 innings on the mound deGrom has only allowed 12 more hits than he's had at the plate.

Not bad for an old man

Rich Hill of the Tampa Bay Rays can identify with deGrom's struggles. The veteran left-hander struck out a career-high 13 batters over eight innings, but he ended up on the wrong side of a 2-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals as the Rays saw their 11-game winning streak come to an end.

At 41 years and 75 days, Hill became the oldest player in Rays history to appear in a game. He's also the oldest pitcher to record at least 13 strikeouts in a game since Hall of Famer Randy Johnson in 2008.

The Rays also helped Hill out on defense with perhaps the defensive play of the day from center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who had to run 106 feet to catch a fly ball off the bat of Kansas City's Andrew Benintendi.

[email protected] ran over 100 feet to track down this fly ball.

(MLBStats x @GoogleCloud) pic.twitter.com/lVFL83qNQH

Leader of the pack

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is having a dominant season and, if not for the exploits of Shohei Ohtani, might be the clear front-runner for American League MVP.

What more does he have to do?

The Toronto Blue Jays first baseman hit his major league-leading 16th home run in a 6-2 victory over the New York Yankees.

Vlad Jr. with his league leading 16th home run this season!#WeAreBlueJayspic.twitter.com/LMSqiSn2zu

In addition to moving him one ahead of Ronald Acuña Jr. for the home run lead, Vlad Jr. is now tied for first in RBI (41) and leading the majors in slugging percentage (.680), OPS (1.129) and total bases (115).

Follow Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner

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