Rockies fall to Mets in series opener at Coors Field
The large congregation of New York Mets fans that sat around the visitor’s dugout seemed to be the only ones with something to cheer about at Coors Field on Friday night.
Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor totaled four RBIs on two hits. Starting pitcher Max Scherzer recorded eight strikeouts in seven innings. Meanwhile, the Rockies–winners of three of their last four games–couldn’t do much to weather the storm, falling to the National League team from the Big Apple, 5-2.
Even after Scherzer’s strong performance, the Rockies found themselves in a position to tie the game. With runners on the corner and two outs in the ninth, infielder Mike Moustakas struck out to end the game.
“(Scherzer) did what they needed (him to do),” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “It was a pitch mix that got him through.”
Runs came sparingly for the Mets, scoring two in the first inning, then two more in the fifth and one in the ninth. When Rockies starter Connor Seabold kept New York off the scoreboard for three straight innings, Colorado failed to take advantage.
Colorado was held scoreless for four straight innings, which could be credited to Scherzer’s brilliance on the mound. The Rockies had to wait until Scherzer was pulled out to resurrect their offense. With Mets reliever David Robertson on the bump, designated hitter Charlie Blackmon hit a solo home run to lead off the eighth, cutting the deficit to 4-2.
However, the Mets responded in the ninth. Center fielder Brandon Nimmo hit one of his two triples. On the next at-bat, Lindor hit a deep sacrifice fly to center to give New York a three-run advantage.
Both teams traded home runs during the first two innings of the night. In the first, Lindor smashed a two-run bomb that soared 439 feet in right-center field to take an early lead. In the second inning, Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon sat on a curveball from pitcher Scherzer and sent the ball to center for a solo shot that cut the deficit to a run.
“That homer was a confidence builder, for sure,” Black said of McMahon, who had gone 103 at bats without a home run before Friday. “He got that breaking ball and launched it. I think tonight was more indicative of what he can do.”
From that point, the evening turned into a pitcher’s duel where Seabold kept up with Scherzer, a World Series champion and future Hall of Famer. The highlight from Seabold’s start came in the third inning. With the bases loaded and one out, he struck out first baseman Pete Alonso on a 3-2 slider that was way outside the zone. Seabold, once again, turned to the slider, striking out Mets third baseman Bretty Baty to get out of the inning with the score remaining 2-1.
“I just had to grind through that,” Seabold said. “I’m upset with myself for putting myself in that situation in the first place. I can’t be hitting (and) walking guys. I can’t be going into battle with two pitches right now. And that’s all I really have right now.”
Seabold kept the Mets hitless until the fifth inning when Nimmo tripled before Lindor’s single drove him home. Moments after McMahon’s throwing error put two runners on the base pads, Baty hit a sharp RBI single to left, extending New York’s lead to 4-1.
“I gotta find a third offering that’s gonna help me out because the third time through the lineup, (I’m) making it way too easy,” Seabold said. “Fastball and slider is not going to get me through three times (against) a lineup.”
While Seabold’s night ended after 4 ⅔ innings, Scherzer kept silencing the Rockies. He struck out two batters in the fifth. In the sixth, he had Blackmon missing a fastball for his seventh strikeout of the night. An inning later, Scherzer struck out first baseman Nolan Jones for the second time.
Jones–who was traded from the Cleveland Guardians in the offseason–made his Rockies debut on Friday after he was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque, where he had hit 12 home runs and 42 RBI with a slash of .356/.481/.711 in 39 games.
Jones had one of the Rockies’ two errors when his throw to second hit Nimmo in the back, as he was running towards the base in the third inning.
“Jones came in on that grounder and charged it,” Black said. “When you charge the ball, you have a legitimate chance of getting in the pathway of the runner. That’s what happened. Nolan just made a bad throw.”
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