NEW YORK — Jacob deGrom's season is close to incomprehensible: He leads the major leagues with a 1.71 ERA and his record is 5-5.
Making his last home start before the July 31 deadline for trades without waivers, the All-Star saw his winless streak reach five games Monday night. The New York Mets made a pair of pivotal errors behind him in a 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres, a matchup of teams with the worst records in the National League.
"You want to win baseball games, but the goal is for the team to win," deGrom said. "I would like the team to have more wins."
DeGrom allowed three runs — two earned — and five hits in eight innings, striking out 10 and walking two as his ERA rose from 1.68. He has given up three runs or fewer in 17 consecutive appearances and became the first pitcher to win fewer than seven games in his first 20 starts with an ERA below 2.00 since earned runs started being compiled in 1912, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Manuel Margot hit a go-ahead triple in a two-run fifth inning after right fielder Jose Bautista dropped Christian Villanueva's fly ball. The Padres made it 3-1 in the sixth when Wil Myers doubled and scored when charging shortstop Amed Rosario let Eric Hosmer's chopper get under his glove and bounce into the outfield.
"I'm sure those things pop into your head when you're pitching, but he definitely didn't let it affect him and he didn't show it," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said of deGrom. "We just keep on talking to him about the things he can control. He knows that and when we talk to him about it, he's kind of, 'Yeah, I can't do anything about it. I can just go out there and do my best.'"
Just 40-57 despite an 11-1 start, New York dealt closer Jeurys Familia last weekend, is likely to trade infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and is considering trading deGrom, eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. DeGrom's agent said during the All-Star break he would prefer either a long-term contract or a trade.
"We love him. We know what we have," Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said. "He's one of the top pitchers in the game, and in order to move him in a trade it would take an awful lot."
DeGrom maintains he isn't concerned.
"That's out of my control. I don't think it will be tough at all," he said. "That's not my decision."
San Diego (42-61) had lost seven of eight and 23 of 30 coming in and also is retooling, dealing All-Star closer Brad Hand last week. The matchup drew 21,731, the Mets' smallest home crowd since April 4.
Rookie left-hander Joey Lucchesi (5-5), brought back from the minor leagues, baffled the Mets for much of the evening with his churve, a combination curveball-changeup at about 80 mph.
Lucchesi has a herky-jerky windup in which the 25-year-old left-hander brings his hands high overhead, lowers them to his chest, pauses and only then rocks and throws.
"I pitch a little odd, but I've pitched like that for five years now. I added the hands down motion right before I pitch my junior year of college and it just felt right for me," he said. "It's like a stretch in between. It helps me hide the ball. Like I said, I can't tip pitches that way."
He made the crowd restless in the fourth, when he threw 10 pickoffs to first with Michael Conforto on base. Lucchesi ended the inning with a fine glove flip to first baseman Eric Hosmer to retire Jose Reyes on a slow roller.
Lucchesi allowed two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, struck out six and walked none. Kirby Yates pitched the ninth for his third save.
Wilmer Flores' RBI single put New York ahead in the third, and deGrom had thrown 37 pitches through the fourth. After reaching on Bautista's error with one out in the fifth, Villanueva stole second and scored on Freddy Galvis' single.
New York closed to 3-2 in the sixth. Brandon Nimmo loaded the bases when Craig Stammen hit him with a pitch on the right knee and left ankle, the 16th time Nimmo has been plunked this season and third in two games. Reyes followed with a slow bouncer off the end of his bat to third for a run-scoring infield hit. DeGrom, who had thrown 80 pitches, grounded out to shortstop.
"Probably nobody else gets to hit in that case," Callaway said. "He deserved to get two more innings pitched."