NEW YORK -- The Rockies hit home runs, as they almost always do. They scored five runs in an inning without a home run, as they so rarely do.
Friday, as it turned out, they needed all of it -- both of their home runs and every one of those non-homer runs, as well as the All-Star closer they signed as a free agent -- for an 8-7 win over the Mets at Citi Field.
It looked at first like a blowout victory and then threatened to become a disheartening loss before settling in as simply a win. Wade Davis wasn't perfect, but when he struck out Michael Conforto with runners at second and third and two out in the ninth, he had his 12th save and the Rockies had a modest three-game winning streak.
"You play the season, and you're going to get games like that," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "It went our way, that's the important thing. Wade made some pitches there to Conforto."
Long before the ninth, almost everything had gone the Rockies' way, from their five-run first (the biggest first inning on the road since 2012) to Charlie Blackmon's home run leading off the second (his 11th of the season, temporarily tying him with Washington's Bryce Harper for the National League lead) to Tony Wolters' home run leading off the sixth (his first in 318 at-bats since Aug. 17, 2016). And even to an Ian Desmond RBI single in the seventh, the one that put the Rockies ahead, 8-2.
But Chris Rusin, in his first game off the disabled list, gave up a two-run home run to Todd Frazier in the eighth. Jake McGee didn't retire either of the two batters he faced in the ninth. Even Davis, who had a 2.19 ERA entering the night, gave up an RBI triple to Asdrubal Cabrera and run-scoring single to Frazier before getting the final out.
"I just had a tough time finding it at the start," Davis said.
"[The Mets] had really, really competitive at-bats, and they were locked in," Black said. "Once they got a little momentum, that kind of builds. And our guy, who had been there before, got it done.
"He knows how to work his way through the ninth inning."
The ninth was important, but so was the first for a Rockies team that had scored nearly half its runs this season on home runs. They were able to build an inning with six hits, none of them homers.
"I think we have a lot of team power," Blackmon had said before the game. "We are not a contact-based team. We are a lineup built to hit the ball hard."
He hit it hard for the single that began the first, and even harder on the home run in the second. It was the Rockies' 42nd home run of the season, in just their 33rd game, and Wolters would eventually hit the 43rd to keep the Rockies ahead of the Nationals for the NL team lead.
The home runs are nice. The big inning without a homer was nice.
At the end of the night, though, the nicest thing for the Rockies was watching Davis strike out Conforto to close out another win.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Wolters goes deep: The Rockies' catcher hit three home runs as a rookie in 2016. The last of those came on Aug. 17 off Oliver Perez, in a 12-10 Rockies win at Coors Field. And until Friday, that was the last Major League home run Wolters had hit. He entered the weekend with a homerless streak of 316 at-bats, the second-longest drought of any non-pitcher in the Major Leagues. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only Jonathan Jay, now playing for the Royals, had gone longer, with 328 at-bats. The drought ended when Wolters homered into the right-field seats off Wheeler to lead off the sixth inning Friday.
The last Rockie with a longer homerless drought, according to Elias, was Jorge De La Rosa (362 at-bats from 2008-16). The last Rockies non-pitcher with a longer drought was Yorvit Torrealba (367 at-bats over two tenures with the Rockies from 2009-13).
The Rockies and Mets played each other 165 times in between the game on July 23, 1995, at Coors Field and the one Friday at Citi Field. Not once in those 165 games did the Rockies score five runs in the first inning. In the five-run first 23 years ago, the Rockies had a three-run home run from Dante Bichette and back-to-back solo home runs from Vinny Castilla and Ellis Burks, all off Mets starter Bobby Jones. The Rockies went on to win that game, 8-5.
Right-hander Chad Bettis will be on the mound in Saturday's 5:10 p.m. MT game vs. the Mets at Citi Field. Bettis has been especially good on the road this season, going 3-1 with a 1.71 ERA in four starts. Left-hander Steven Matz, who will start for the Mets, has a 9.00 ERA in three career starts against the Rockies.