OAKLAND, Calif. — Jacob deGrom called his rare, late September flop unacceptable.
The Mets ace got hit around and lasted a season-low four innings, and New York lost 10-4 to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday to see its lead cut in the NL East race.
"It happens. It's unfortunate that it happened. I'm extremely disappointed," said deGrom, who couldn't hold an early lead. "We go out and put up three in the first then to go give up four right away is unacceptable. Four walks, just all around unacceptable and a terrible job by me."
DeGrom (5-3) was tagged for five runs and four walks — the worst start for the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner since 2019. The right-hander had never faced the A's.
In his last three starts, deGrom has allowed 11 earned runs in 15 innings. The four walks doubled his previous season total.
"I kept thinking I was going to make the adjustment, that was the goal, slow things down let's make the adjustment. I wasn't able to," he said.
The Mets lost for only the second time in their last nine games. Their lead dropped to 1 1/2 games over reigning World Series champion Atlanta after the Braves won 6-3 at Philadelphia.
"He's spoiled us with a high level of pitching like most of our guys," manager Buck Showalter said. "I don't think anybody ever took anything for granted. What he does over a long period in his career is very hard to do."
Mark Vientos hit a solo home run in the Mets second to make it 4-all. Seth Brown's leadoff homer in the third put the A's ahead for good.
Pete Alonso hit a two-run homer, his 38th, in the Mets first. Staked to an immediate 3-0 lead, deGrom gave up four runs in the bottom half.
DeGrom had struck out eight or more with either one or no walks in eight straight starts, the longest such streak in major league history, but fanned a season-low five.
His last time out against Pittsburgh, deGrom became the only pitcher to strike out at least 13 batters with no walks in five innings.
Francisco Lindor added a sacrifice fly in the first off Ken Waldichuk (1-2) for his 100th RBI of the season.
Waldichuk earned his first major league victory in his fifth career start with five solid innings.
"It was awesome," Waldichuk said. "I can't think of a single guy that didn't play a major role in today's win."
Rookie Dermis García hit a two-run double in the bottom of the first against deGrom, who surrendered Vimael Machin's one-out single and then issued consecutive walks to Sean Murphy and Brown.
Mets left fielder Jeff McNeil tripped trying to track García's hit and the ball got past him to the wall.
"He's always so good. I didn't help him out," McNeil said of deGrom. "He's so good. It's tough to see him have one of these kind of days. He's one of the best pitchers in the world so he's going to come back next time and give us a big game."
Conner Capel homered among his career-best three hits and drove in a career-high four runs. He had an RBI groundout and Shea Langeliers also doubled in a run in the A's first.
Capel homered in the fifth and Brown added an RBI single in the sixth. The A's kept adding on, with Nick Allen hitting an RBI single in the seventh.
Former A's outfielder Mark Canha was hit by a pitch to start the third. He singled in the first and struck out twice.
Mets: 2B Luis Guillome exited after being plunked in the fourth. A knot in his arm developed. ... CF Brandon Nimmo was held out of the lineup as a precaution after he returned Friday from a left quadriceps injury. He left Wednesday's game following the first inning hurt then an MRI showed no structural damage. Nimmo is scheduled to play Sunday afternoon's series finale. Showalter didn't want to take a chance with Nimmo with the quick turnaround after a night game Friday, and the training staff expects that with the off day Monday he should be full strength by Tuesday. ... All-Star RF Starling Marte has been hopeful of returning for a key series with the Braves next week as he works back from a non-displaced fracture of his right middle finger. He traveled back to New York on Saturday afternoon for further imaging tests. Also going back early were starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker.
Athletics: CF Ramón Laureano is recovering from a PRP injection in his right hip that he opted to have because he was already sidelined and expected to miss the remainder of the season with a right hamstring strain. He's expected to have a normal offseason to be ready for spring training and will begin a rehab program this coming week rejoining the team.
Oakland designated infielder Sheldon Neuse for assignment to clear roster room for infielder Ernie Clement, claimed off waivers from Cleveland on Friday.
RHP Max Scherzer (10-4, 2.15 ERA), coming off his 200th career win, faces the A's for the first time since surrendering five earned runs over six innings in Oakland on May 27, 2014, while with Detroit. The A's send LHP JP Sears (6-2, 3.58) to the mound to face the Mets for the first time after he beat the Mariners on Tuesday.
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