SAN DIEGO — Chris Paddack struck out fellow rookie Pete Alonso on a 98 mph fastball in the first inning, pumped his fist and hollered.
It was on.
The fired-up Paddack fanned a career-high 11 to outduel NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, and Hunter Renfroe homered for the San Diego Padres in a 4-0 victory against the slumping New York Mets on Monday night.
A few days earlier, Paddack told The Athletic he was “coming for” Alonso after the young Mets slugger won the season’s first NL Rookie of the Month award. Paddack struck out Alonso in his first two at-bats and then retired him on a grounder. Alonso was due up next when Paddack was lifted with two outs in the eighth after allowing a single to Jeff McNeil.
“Obviously, me and Alonso, nothing against him — he’s a great guy. He has some talent,” Paddack said after a wild postgame clubhouse celebration. “Not a lot of things fire me up but that was … I think it was kind of cool to announce that. The Mets are a great team. We came up on top tonight. I’m looking forward to the little rivalry we have. I just came to the ballpark focused.”
Paddack (3-1) was impressive in his sixth big league start. He walked one and allowed just four singles, including one to deGrom leading off the sixth. That was the only inning in which Paddack allowed more than one baserunner. Robinson Cano walked with two outs before Paddack got Michael Conforto to fly out.
Padres manager Andy Green said Paddack “was on another level.”
“That’s as aggressive as he’s come out,” Green added.
The 23-year-old Paddack got a standing ovation from the crowd of 20,176 as he exited after throwing a career-high 91 pitches. Paddack pitched only 90 innings last year between Class A and Double-A as he came back from Tommy John surgery that sidelined him in 2017.
“It was absolutely painful taking him out of the ballgame,” Green said. “It’s not fun taking him out right now. It’s fun looking forward to the day when we can cut him loose.”
Alonso said Paddack’s comments didn’t sit well with him.
“If he was upset about (the award), I’m assuming he could have been a little jealous,” said Alonso, a 24-year-old first baseman. “He had a hell of a first month.
I’m happy to win it. If he was mad about that, there’s five other months. There’s five months left in the season.
“He’s allowed to say what he wants. He wanted me and he got me tonight, simple as that,” Alonso added. “It kind of fired me up and it was going to be a good matchup and I didn’t answer the bell. I had a couple guys on base when I was up and I didn’t do the job tonight. It’s not good. It’s not a good feeling. It’s a really tough pill to swallow.”
DeGrom didn’t sound all that impressed by Paddack: “His stuff was OK. He just located it well tonight,” the Mets ace said.
Paddack said it was tough coming out.
“But I respect the Padres’ front office and coaching staff. They’re doing it for a reason. That’s to keep me healthy hopefully for the next 15 years,” he explained.
Paddack’s previous high was nine strikeouts in a 1-0 win against Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners on April 24.
Craig Stammen came on and struck out Alonso. Stammen then pitched a perfect ninth for his second career save. The other one came in 2012 with Washington.
Stammen said Paddack got the Padres excited “and there was no way I was going to let that game go to waste.”
The Mets lost their fourth straight and were shut out for the second time in six games. They’ve scored only seven runs in their past six games — one of which went 18 innings.
DeGrom (2-4) allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings in a game that took just 2 hours, 14 minutes. He struck out seven and walked one.
“Made a couple mistakes and didn’t get away with them,” deGrom said. “When I did leave a ball over the middle they put it into play where nobody was standing.”
Renfroe homered to left-center on an 0-1 pitch leading off the fifth, his eighth. On Sunday, Renfroe delivered a pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to give the Padres an 8-5 win that prevented a series sweep.
San Diego rookie Ty France hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh against deGrom. Eric Hosmer added a two-run double off Justin Wilson in the eighth.
Mets: Placed LHP Jason Vargas on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring injury and recalled right-hander Corey Oswalt from Triple-A Syracuse. New York also activated Wilson from the 10-day IL and optioned right-hander Tim Peterson to Syracuse.
Padres: Rookie SS Fernando Tatis Jr., on the injured list with a strained left hamstring, jogged on the field and hit in the cage. “He always looks good,” Green said.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (2-3, 5.02 ERA) is scheduled to start the middle game of the series Tuesday night. He’s coming off a remarkable performance in which he struck out 10 and homered in a 1-0 shutout against Cincinnati on Thursday. He became the 10th pitcher to throw a shutout and hit a homer in a 1-0 victory.
Padres: Rookie RHP Cal Quantrill (0-1, 3.18) is set to make his second big league start.