After mounting rally, Rox beat by familiar face
Bettis goes five solid innings, but Young scores go-ahead run for Mets
NEW YORK -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss knows what type of player Eric Young Jr. is, and how much of a menace he can be on the bases. For 57 games this season, Young was Weiss' weapon, injecting speed into the Rockies' lineup with an ability to affect a game's outcome. On Tuesday, Young gave the organization he grew up with one more reminder of the player it traded away.
When Mets center fielder Juan Lagares hit a slow ground ball to second base for an infield single off Wilton Lopez in the bottom of the eighth inning, Young hustled from second base to score the Mets' winning run and send the Rockies to a 3-2 loss at Citi Field. Young's run spoiled a strong start by Chad Bettis, and continued what's been a dreadful road trip for the Rockies.
"He's a hard-nosed player. He plays hard all the time," Weiss said of Young. "He's got game-changing speed."
Colorado is 1-7 since leaving Denver last week.
Five days after struggling through his first Major League start, Bettis showed the Rockies he can be the pitcher they hoped to see when they brought him up from Double-A Tulsa. Bettis moved up one game to start in place of Tyler Chatwood, who the Rockies gave extra rest after he experienced left hamstring tightness doing sprint work in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Since Colorado had an off-day Monday, Bettis was on normal rest.
Bettis, 24, only made one significant mistake against the Mets. In the first inning, the righty threw a flat slider that stayed over the plate to Lagares, who lined it into the gap in right-center field for a two-run triple that gave the Mets a 2-0 lead.
"Chad settled in well. Started to get strike one," Weiss said. "He did a nice job giving us a shot to win."
Bettis allowed only one more hit, a double by Mets first baseman Ike Davis in the third inning. Bettis retired the next seven hitters he faced.
Bettis permitted two runs on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts over five innings. This was a considerable improvement after giving up five earned runs on six hits against Atlanta on Thursday.
"I definitely felt like it was back to normal," Bettis said. "I got settled in there after that first game. I felt like the first game, I was so locked in I wasn't able to see what the hitters were doing, stuff like that. Today was a better day."
Aside from a sacrifice fly by Nolan Arenado, Colorado didn't do much damage against Mets starter Jenrry Mejia through the first five innings. But the Rockies started to break through in the sixth.
Charlie Blackmon pinch-hit for Bettis and turned on an 0-2 pitch from Mejia for a home run to right-center field that tied the game at 2.
Colorado then had a chance to take a comfortable lead. The Rockies had the bases loaded with one out, but Carlos Torres, who came on in relief of Mejia, retired Wilin Rosario and Todd Helton to get out of the inning.
What could've been a big inning ended with Colorado stranding the bases loaded, and it cost Colorado in the bottom of the eighth.
Young led off the inning with a single, and was a threat to steal immediately. Lopez paid plenty of attention to Young, throwing over to first several times. Mets right fielder Marlon Byrd hit a long fly out to center that allowed Young to tag up. Lopez then intentionally walked Davis.
Young, who was drafted by the Rockies in 2003 and spent parts of five seasons with them in the Majors, then scored on Lagares' infield single.
"It felt good against those guys. There's no hard feelings," Young said. "I'm more appreciative that they made the move they did, because I wouldn't be in this situation if they didn't. But it was good being able to showcase that."
Colorado threatened against Mets reliever LaTroy Hawkins in the ninth. Arenado singled, and DJ LeMahieu hit one of his own to allow pinch-runner Jonathan Herrera to get to third.
Weiss then sent Yorvit Torrealba up to pinch-hit, but Torrealba hit a sharp line drive behind first base that Davis snagged in foul territory to end the game. Weiss said Carlos Gonzalez, who wasn't in the starting lineup as he continues to deal with a sprained right middle finger, was not available to hit.
Of the Rockies' struggles on this road trip, this was certainly among the toughest losses to digest. They had a well-pitched ballgame, but ended up losing when one of their former teammates, Young, scored in a bizarre way.
Said Weiss: "He got them a win tonight."