SAN DIEGO - The voice rose up Monday night and caught Jacob deGrom's ear. He couldn't remember the exact inning, though the message stayed with him long after the fact.
"You have a no-hitter going!" the fan yelled at some point before deGrom took his bid for a perfect game into the sixth.
Though the Mets thumped the Padres, 7-0, history would have to wait. Just as manager Terry Collins began experiencing flashbacks of Johan Santana's no-hitter -- thrown exactly three years ago Monday night -- Clint Barmes led off the sixth with a single to rightfield.
Still, that wasn't enough to spoil deGrom's latest brilliance. The righthander allowed two hits and walked none in eight innings, striking out eight and extending perhaps the most dominant stretch of his career.
"This is the best I've been," deGrom said. "I'm staying on top of the ball and getting good down movement like I did last year."
Ruben Tejada had three hits, including a double, to extend the hot streak that has made him the starting third baseman in David Wright's absence.
Daniel Murphy went 4-for-5 and drove in three runs. His four-hit outburst, the 13th of his career, included his fourth homer. The two-run shot, which scraped the rightfield fence, came in a four-run fifth.
Wilmer Flores, Juan Lagares and rookie Darrell Ceciliani each collected an RBI single.
Wright has been on the shelf since April 15. Of the 13 players the Mets have sent to the disabled list since the start of spring training, none has returned.
Nevertheless, to the chants of "Let's go, Mets" at Petco Park, they lifted themselves into a virtual tie with the Nationals (28-22) for first place in the NL East.
The Mets (29-23) got their seven-game West Coast swing off to a solid start, led by deGrom's dominant outing, "Jake just rolled," Murphy said.
DeGrom (6-4) is 3-0 with a 0.92 ERA in his last four starts. He has allowed 14 hits and one walk in those 291/3 innings, striking out 34, and hasn't given up an extra-base hit, which, according to Elias, tied a franchise single-season record.
"This is probably one of the best games I've seen him pitch,'' Collins said, "and I've seen him pitch some really, really good ones."
The Mets chased Padres righty Andrew Cashner, who endured an unusual night. Though he struck out a career-high 12 in 42/3 innings, he departed down 6-0, charged with six runs (five earned) and 11 hits.
By contrast, deGrom cruised, flashing sharp command and a feel for changing speeds.
In the fifth, he grimaced when his landing leg slipped. It might have been his only moment of struggle all night.
"Honestly, when I was warming up, I wasn't throwing the ball where I wanted at all," deGrom said. "So I was thinking, 'Oh, man, I better get it under control up there.' ''
With his fastball ranging into the high 90s, deGrom struck out the first four batters and was nearly unhittable. "I knew what was going on," he said. "But you try not to think about it."
Though Barmes' hit deprived deGrom of a run at history, he exerted total control. He drove home the point when frustration boiled over in the eighth. That's when Padres slugger Matt Kemp and manager Bud Black were tossed for arguing balls and strikes with plate umpire Dan Iassogna.
"I feel really comfortable out there with my delivery," deGrom said. "I'm just out there trying to make pitches."