SAN DIEGO -- Mets starter Jacob deGrom began the night the simplest way he knew how, with three consecutive fastballs. Jose Pirela watched all three of them whiz by for strikes, then walked back to the bench. The next batter, Carlos Asuaje, managed a couple of foul balls before buckling on a 90-mph slider. The third, William Myers, simply stared at a 96-mph heater on the strike zone's outer edge.
With that 10-pitch run of dominance in the first inning on Monday night, deGrom announced his presence as he has time and again throughout his active winning streak. The Mets' 5-3 victory over the Padres ran deGrom's personal streak to eight, making him the first Mets pitcher to win that many in a row since Bobby Jones in 1997.
"When he's on, he's as good as anybody," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He's right up there with [Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw]. He's right up there with [Nationals ace Max Scherzer]. He's right up there will all those guys. He's really, really good."
Making deGrom's effort even more notable on Monday night was the fact that, from the second inning on, he pitched with an ache in his landing foot. The issue first affected deGrom when he attempted to beat out a ground ball in the second inning, and stayed with him the entire game.
Perhaps that explains why, from the second through fifth innings, deGrom did not strike out a batter, giving up several hard-hit balls along the way. But after Hunter Renfroe homered to lead off the seventh, deGrom rebounded with three more punchouts. He lasted eight innings in all, striking out eight and walking two.
"The thing that stands out the most is his competitiveness," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "This guy just doesn't give in."
deGrom's wins in eight consecutive starts match a single-season franchise record, one shy of Frank Viola's overall record of nine straight wins from 1989-90.
Perhaps most remarkably, deGrom's streak began immediately after the worst two-start stretch of his career, in which he allowed 15 runs over consecutive losses. Since that run ended on June 6, deGrom is 8-0 with a 1.61 ERA, 58 strikeouts and 12 walks.
"I feel like it does surprise me a little more," deGrom said. "It's like, 'OK, what's going on?' But I was battling with some mechanical things. ... After those two starts, it was like, 'OK, we've got to figure something out. Let's go.'"