If Amed Rosario tries to tell you, years from now, that his first Major League at bat was a home run, don’t believe him. While Rosario didn’t blast out of the box as spectacularly as we’d hope, this night was memorable for him and the Mets nevertheless. Just not in a good way.
Steven Matz squared off against Jeff Hoffman, looking to reverse a horrid trend. Over his previous four starts, Matz was sporting an ERA over 14.00. He was better than that tonight. He took a no-hitter one out into the fifth and didn’t allow a ball into the outfield until the hitter after that. By that time, he’d been staked to a 1-0 lead. Starting off the game, Michael Conforto drew a five-pitch walk. After Asdrubal Cabrera lined out hard to center, Yoenis Cespedes hit a rope into left that Gerardo Parra couldn’t cut off. It rolled all the way to the wall and Cespedes had an RBI double. The Mets added on in the top of the sixth, with almost a carbon copy of the first. This time, Cespedes led off with a single and Jay Bruce doubled into the right field corner to chase him home.
Now, remember, this game took place in Colorado. Two runs ain’t gonna cut it up there, unless you throw a perfect game. Matz did not throw a perfect game. Whatever mojo he may have had in the first five innings left him abruptly in the sixth. Centerfielder Charlie Blackmon led off with a single to right. DJ LeMahieu hit a long double past Cespedes and both runners scored when Nolan Arenado lined a homer just over the fence in right center. When Mark Reynolds hit another double down the left field line, that was it for Mr. Matz. Josh Smoker got two outs and Erik Goeddel finished the inning with a strikeout of catcher Ryan Hanigan — who always seems to look like he has gas. But I digress.
The Mets tied it in a whacky, very Metsian way in the seventh. With one out, Jose Reyes struck out on a shoulder-high fastball, but the ball ticked off Hanigan’s mitt and rolled a long way to the backstop. Reyes scampered down to first, easily beating Hangian’s throw. Conforto then hit a looper to Blackmon, who might have had a play on Reyes at third, but double-clutched and ended up tossing it to second. Cabrera hit the next pitch to medium center. Reyes raced home as Blackmon spiked his throw to the infield — literally. He made a huge throwing effort and the ball ended up at his own ankles. Bruce led off the eighth with his 28th homer of the year and the Mets had the lead again. Later in the inning, Rosario would finally get that first hit, an infield single to short.
Mark Reynolds singled off Paul Sewald to start the bottom of the eighth. Terry Collins replaced him with Jerry Blevins to face the lefty Parra, who singled to the opposite field. Story grounded out to Rosario and Parra was forced at second. With men on first and third, Blevins got Carlos Gonzalez to hit a soft bouncer to Cabrera and the game was tied again. After the Mets went out in order the ninth, newly appointed closer Hansel Robles — it’s tough to type that — came in to keep the game going. It didn’t work out that way. He walked Blackmon leading off. LeMahieu hit a sharp grounder to short. Rosario, though, had taken a step toward the bag instead of the ball and that small miscue prevented him from getting anyone out. Arenado ended it with a line drive base hit to Conforto in center.
Welcome to the Mets, Amed.
It’s Chris Flexen vs. Tyler Chatwood tomorrow night in Denver.