Cespedes' 3 HRs help Mets outslug Rockies
DENVER -- Yoenis Cespedes knocked a grand slam among his three home runs and five hits, and the National League East-leading Mets went deep five times in a 14-9 victory over the Rockies on a Coors Field kind of Friday night.
So wild was this contest that Jon Gray, the Rockies' rookie righty sensation, was roasted for seven runs and eight hits -- including Cespedes' second-inning slam -- in 1 2/3 innings, and Mets starter Bartolo Colon coughed up seven runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 frames, yet neither figured in the decision. Also, the Rockies' Nick Hundley finished a home run shy of the cycle, while Cespedes finished a three-run shot away from a home run cycle. The Mets lead the Nationals by five games, which is their largest lead of the season.
"It was a Coors Field game," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "There's no other way to explain it. You never felt comfortable no matter what the score was."
Cespedes improved his homer total to 23 overall, five in 18 games with the Mets. After the grand slam, Cespedes added a solo shot off Christian Bergman in the fourth and a tiebreaking two-run shot off Christian Friedrich (0-4) in the sixth for a 10-8 Mets lead. Consecutive homers by Travis d'Arnaud (7) and Michael Conforto (3) in the seventh off Gonzalez Germen gave the Mets their first five-homer game since last Sept. 5 at Cincinnati.
The Rockies homered for the home folks, with solo shots for Carlos Gonzalez (29) in the first and Ben Paulsen (9) in the second, and a three-run job from Nolan Arenado (30) in the fourth, all off Colon. They tied it at 8 in the fifth on Hundley's RBI triple off reliever Sean Gilmartin (2-1). But Hundley was erased at the plate trying to tag up on Kyle Parker's flyout to Curtis Granderson, and momentum swung back to the Mets.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Feats of strength: Though Cespedes has enjoyed a handful of memorable moments since coming to the Mets, he whiffed on a few early chances for significant damage. Not Friday. Blasting his opposite-field grand slam off Gray in the second, Cespedes transformed a 3-1 Mets lead into a 7-1 game. It was his second career grand slam and third home run as a Met.
Two innings later, Cespedes launched his fourth Mets homer over the center-field wall to make the lead 8-4. Then he gave the Mets a 10-8 lead with his two-run shot in the sixth. Cespedes finished a career-high 5-for-6 with five runs scored, seven RBIs and 15 total bases. More >
Joining Vinny: Third base hadn't been a power position for the Rockies since the days of Vinny Castilla (1993-99, 2004) -- until Arenado's arrival. Arenado's three-run moonshot to left in the fourth, to cut the deficit to 8-7, was his 30th. The only other Rockies third-sacker to have that many in a season was Castilla, who did it six times. More >
"We have, what, 40 games left?" Arenado said. "So it's hard to cherish it. I'll cherish it more when the season is over. It's great to hit 30. I want to hit more, but I'm very fortunate."
Bart battles: A golf ball-sized welt formed near the base of Colon's right hand after Gray hit him with a pitch on a second-inning bunt attempt. Colon remained in the game but was ineffective after the plunking, surrendering six of his seven runs in the second through fourth innings. More >
Start of a bad night: If Gray had made better pitches with two outs in the first inning, he might have settled in and pitched better. Instead, he gave up a Cespedes double to right-center and let Lucas Duda dribble a single through the unoccupied left side of a shifted infield for a 1-0 deficit. Then he couldn't stop the negative spin in the second.
"I had plenty of chances to get myself out of situations but I just didn't make the pitches," Gray said. "They were the right pitch calls, just not in the right spot."
Said Rockies manager Walt Weiss: "It was one of those nights where the ball was flying pretty good. But there's something to be learned every night, especially for a young pitcher."
"You just want everyone on the same page and doing the best they can, and I believe we are. No one likes to lose. It's not fun. It's pretty bad, the way we've lost these games lately. Hopefully, we can find a change, and hopefully it's soon."
-- Arenado, on the Rockies' 2-9 stretch that has seen the bullpen struggle
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Colon's plunking was just the second time he's been hit in his career and first since July 28, 2002, when he was with Montreal.
Dating back to last year, the Rockies have lost nine straight to the Mets.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Mets caught a break in the bottom of the fifth, shortly after Colorado tied the game. With Hundley leading off third base, pinch-hitter Parker lifted a shallow fly to right field, where Granderson settled under it, fired home and appeared to nab Hundley at the plate. Though replays revealed a close play, they confirmed the crew's original call. Instead of the Rockies taking their first lead of the game, the Mets escaped without further damage.
Of far less consequence was Collins' challenge in the first inning, which resulted in a Colon pickoff of Charlie Blackmon at first base. Umpire Paul Schrieber initially ruled Blackmon safe. And in the seventh, a crew chief review confirmed Granderson's successful steal of second base.
Mets: Quietly consistent since the beginning of June, Jon Niese will start the Mets' 8:10 p.m. ET game at Coors Field on Saturday. Niese is 1-1 there with a 6.75 ERA in three career starts.
Rockies: Lefty Chris Rusin (4-5, 3.99 ERA), who threw a shutout in his last outing, will face the Mets at 6:10 p.m. MT.
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