If Brandon Nimmo’s go-ahead homer in the ninth inning to help win Sunday’s game in Arizona wasn’t exhilarating enough for the Mets, his performance at Coors Field a night later was breathtaking.
And it wasn’t just the thin air.
Nimmo raced around the bases for an inside-the-park home run and crushed another over the fence as part of his four-hit night, leading the Mets to a third straight victory, 12-2 over the Rockies on Monday.
Nimmo, who grew up in nearby Wyoming, bought tickets for 75 family members and friends, and gave them a performance that included a career-best four RBIs.
“It’s sometimes tough to show up to the field the next day because you have to put the prior day behind you, and I was like, ‘It doesn’t get a whole lot better than [Sunday], helping the team win and hitting essentially that game-winning home run,’ ” Nimmo said. “And then doing that today in front of the family that sure gave it a run for its money.”
All of it was plentiful enough to get a rare win for Jacob deGrom, who gave the Mets another superb performance, allowing two runs (one of which was unearned) over eight innings. The right-hander had a 0.87 ERA over his previous 10 starts, but the Mets were 2-8 in that stretch. The Amazin’s had scored 11 runs in deGrom’s previous eight starts.
Nimmo led off the game with a shot into the right-center gap against lefty Tyler Anderson that hit the fence and rolled away from the outfielders. Nimmo kept running until he touched home plate.
“I just busted my tail and ended up getting around,” Nimmo said. “I didn’t even know what was happening.”
In the seventh, Nimmo hit a monstrous blast that cleared the right-center fence against lefty Harrison Musgrave. The homer was Nimmo’s 12th, tying him for the team lead with Asdrubal Cabrera.
Brandon Nimmo reacts after hitting an inside-the-park home run Monday, one of his two homers in the Mets’ 12-2 win over the Rockies.Getty Images
Nimmo entered play only 9-for-46 (.196) against lefties. He finished 4-for-6, with three of his hits coming against left-handers.
“Before he just wouldn’t play very often against [lefties],” manager Mickey Callaway said. “Now we’re getting him out there every day and he’s doing a real good job.”
On Sunday, his two-run rocket with two outs in the ninth inning against Brad Boxberger put the Mets ahead in a wild 5-3 victory in Arizona. Nimmo entered play Monday with a .402 on-base percentage that ranked third in the National League.
Devin Mesoraco added to the outburst Monday with a two-run homer in the eighth, giving the Mets at least five runs for a third straight game. Before that, the Mets had an 11-game streak in which they scored three runs or fewer.
In the ninth, the Mets added six runs to reach double digits in scoring for the first time since May 15.
DeGrom surrendered an unearned run in the seventh on Jose Bautista’s error in right field, pulling the Rockies within 4-2. But the Mets ace recovered and completed eight innings for the second time in three starts. His major league leading ERA dropped from 1.55 to 1.51.
“I wanted to keep the ball on the ground,” deGrom said. “I was fortunate enough to get some ground-ball outs.”
The Mets’ three-game winning streak is only their second since starting the season 11-1 (from May 18-21 the Mets won four straight games).
In a tight game early, Wilmer Flores’ homer leading off the fourth extended the Mets’ lead to 3-1. The blast was Flores’ fourth of the season and first since May 8, spanning 56 at-bats and a disabled list stint.
Gerardo Parra’s RBI double in the second got the Rockies on the board for the only earned run against deGrom. Carlos Gonzalez doubled leading off the inning and scored on Parra’s shot.
Michael Conforto’s recent surge continued with a loud double to left-center leading off the second that turned into a run. Conforto stole third against Anderson’s deliberate delivery and scored on Bautista’s soft ground out.
Nimmo’s leadoff inside-the-park homer was the first by a Mets player since Angel Pagan on Aug. 23, 2009 against the Phillies.
“[Nimmo] is fun to watch,” deGrom said. “Nobody is more excited to be out there and that is very fun to watch.”
Rockies manager Bud Black was ejected following the fourth inning of Colorado’s series opener against the Mets on Monday for arguing an out-of-the-base-path call at first base.
The play that drew Black’s ire ended the Rockies’ offensive threat in the inning, as Gerardo Parra lined out to Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores with Trevor Story on first following a one-out walk.
After Flores nabbed the liner, he just missed tagging out Story as the shortstop made his way back to the bag, taking a couple steps outside the line to remain safe.
Per major league rules, a runner has three feet on either side of the base path to avoid the fielder from the established base path. Black came out to protest crew chief Bill Welke’s call, and after hearing enough, Welke gave Black his 28th career ejection as a manager and first this season.
Bench coach Mike Redmond took over for Black’s managerial duties in the wake of the ejection.
The Mets scored four runs in the ninth inning Sunday to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3, giving New York (30-38) consecutive victories for the first time since it won four straight games from May 18 to May 21. They scored on a two-strike double by Jose Bautista, a two-run homer by Brandon Nimmo and a solo homer by Asdrubal Cabrera.
“We’ve been waiting for a big hit to happen,” Nimmo said. “I don’t know what it means for the future, but for right now, to get two wins in a row against a good D-backs team, that’s awesome.”
Nimmo’s homer gave the Mets only their sixth win in 25 games since May 21.
Meanwhile, Rockies closer Wade Davis gave up four runs in the ninth inning Sunday and threw 38 pitches in one-third of an inning as the Rockies (34-37) fell 13-12 to the Texas Rangers. The meltdown finished a 2-4 road trip and the Rockies slipped three games below .500 for the first time this season.
The Rockies have lost 12 of their past 16 games, and Sunday’s defeat marked the 21st time — the most in the National League — the Rockies lost after having a lead. Their bullpen has a 5.49 ERA, the highest in the NL.
“It’s tough. There is no way around that,” Rockies shortstop Trevor Story said after the loss on Sunday. “You never want to lose games, obviously, late like that. It’s just one of those weird stretches right now. We are very confident in our guys, but it’s tough to put words to it.”
The Rockies have lost seven straight games at Coors Field where they play their next seven games against the Mets and the Miami Marlins. Their record there is 11-19.
The series against the Rockies will conclude a 10-game road trip for the Mets, who dropped the first four games before the back-to-back wins at Arizona.
The ace right-hander has the lowest ERA in the majors and has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 10 straight starts. During that span, he has a 0.87 ERA (six earned runs, 62 1/3 innings) with 83 strikeouts and 17 walks, but the Mets are 2-8.
In his last start Wednesday at Atlanta, de Grom gave up one run in seven innings with no walks and seven strikeouts. It was his sixth straight start of at least seven innings in which he allowed two or fewer earned runs.
After the loss to the Braves, Mets third baseman Todd Frazier said, “For us not to put up any runs for him again, I told him I was sorry. I don’t know what else to tell him.”
DeGrom is the first pitcher since Randy Johnson of the 1999 Diamondbacks with five consecutive starts of seven innings or more with two or fewer runs allowed without his team coming away with a win.
De Grom is 3-0 with a 0.99 ERA in five starts against the Rockies and 0-0 with a 4.26 ERA in one start at Coors Field.
Anderson has thrown seven innings in each of his past two starts — both on the road, including a 7-2 win on Wednesday at Philadelphia, where he gave up six hits and one run and broke a string of four straight no-decisions.
Anderson is 0-0 with a 1.50 ERA in one start against the Mets.
The Rockies are 7-7 in starts by Anderson, who is 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA in five starts at Coors Field this year and 9-6 with a 3.73 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) there.
Mets RHP Zack Wheeler‘s rough fourth inning overshadowed his perfect start in a no-decision in Sunday’s 5-3 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday at Chase Park.
After retiring the first 10 batters he faced, Wheeler allowed two runs, two hits and two walks to turn a 1-0 Mets lead into a 2-1 deficit.
“Just had a little hiccup there in the fourth,” Wheeler told reporters after the game.
The 28-year-old Wheeler rebounded from his last outing, when he allowed six runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Braves, by striking out eight batters and giving up just three hits in six innings.
“I thought it was probably the best he’s thrown all year in the early innings,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “He’s a guy who is going out there and attacking, you can tell.”
But the fourth inning proved to be his doom. A Paul Goldschmidt walk and Jake Lamb single put runners on first and second when David Peralta hit a 2-2 fastball to right-center field for a game-tying RBI double. Wheeler walked Daniel Descalso to load the bases for Ketel Marte, whose ground out drove in Lamb and put Arizona ahead.
Wheeler threw a 1-2-3 fifth inning and pitched around a leadoff single in the sixth before the Mets pinch hit for him in the top of the seventh when he was at 97 pitches.
“I was commanding both sides of the plate, off-speed was working. … It was mostly a good day,” Wheeler said.
It really was just another game, just one in a string of 162.
But there was something a little bit extra special about Sunday’s matinee at Chase Field that made the Diamondbacks want to dig a little bit deeper to make sure they didn’t lose to the New York Mets. And it wasn’t just because they were finishing a homestand before heading out on the road for a 10-game trip.
Namely, it was the Father’s Day sellout crowd of 47,907.
The stadium hadn’t been close to being this packed since Opening Day, and manager Torey Lovullo and his players could feel the energy in the air, the passion in the stands and the pressure on their shoulders. They knew they had to win this game.
“I feel like we’re going to win every game,” Lovullo said, “and obviously when you get to a certain point, you feel very comfortable and I was in that very comfortable stage.”
The Diamondbacks came within an out of holding off the Mets until closer Brad Boxberger imploded in the ninth inning by allowing four runs on four hits to turn what looked to be a sure 3-1 win into a crushing 5-3 loss.
Lovullo on ninth inning loss to Mets Arizona Republic
Boxberger’s third blown save came after he struck out first baseman Dominic Smith and catcher Kevin Plawecki to open the ninth. But then shortstop Jose Reyes reached base on an infield bunt that looked like it was going to roll foul had Diamondbacks catcher Alex Avila not fielded it.
After Reyes advanced to second base on defensive indifference, pinch hitter Jose Bautista ripped a 92 mph fastball over the head of right fielder Jon Jay for an RBI double. Brandon Nimmo then turned on a second straight change-up from Boxberger and his two-run home run to right put the Mets ahead 4-3.
Asdrubal Cabrera finished the damage by following with a solo homer off a 79 mph Boxberger change-up and – poof! – what looked like a Diamondbacks victory suddenly was snatched away by defeat.
“I think, especially with the way we’ve handled our business this year, I think anytime we get a lead past the fifth inning I feel pretty good about it,” reliever Archie Bradley said. “And yeah, I agree along those same lines, that this was going to be our game.
“They kind of kicked our ass in New York and we wanted to come here and really put it to them. We had it going. It just really stinks to lose a game that way, especially in front of that crowd. … It’s a tough one to swallow.”
It was particularly tough for Boxberger, who vowed to bounce back.
“I sucked today and tomorrow there is a new day and I could be great tomorrow,” he said. “I’ve just got to go out and get my work in and be ready to go.”
Boxberger I’m blown save vs. Mets Arizona Republic
Mets starter Zack Wheeler retired the Diamondbacks in order through the first three innings until Paul Goldschmidt drew a one-out walk in the fourth, Jake Lamb followed with an opposite-field single to left and David Peralta belted an RBI double off the wall in right-center. The Diamondbacks took a 2-1 lead when Daniel Descalso walked to load the bases and Lamb scored on Ketel Marte’s infield groundout.
After that, all signs seemed to point to a Diamondbacks win. Starter Clay Buchholz held the Mets to just one run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. And when he ran into trouble in the sixth, facing runners at second and third, left-hander Andrew Chafin came in to end the inning with a called third strike against Jay Bruce.
That was the beginning of three consecutive “must-have,” inning-ending outs by the bullpen. After Chafin’s 21st scoreless appearance in his past 23 outings, Yoshihisa Hirano extended his scoreless streak to 19 games by striking out Nimmo in the seventh after having walked two batters with two away.
Bradley completed the cycle in the eighth when, after allowing a two-out base hit to Todd Frazier, he got Bruce to ground out. Everything seemed to be trending Arizona’s way, complete with some outstanding defensive efforts by Descalso in the infield and Peralta and Jarrod Dyson in the outfield.
“You’re right, it pushed us to the next inning each time,” Lovullo said.
After Lamb added an insurance run in the eighth with another opposite-field hit, Peralta was sure it was over when Boxberger came on to pitch the ninth.
“Of course,” he said. “As soon as we took the lead, we had the feeling we were going to win this game. Boxberger was going to finish it out for us. Unfortunately, he hung a pitch and they got to him, but that’s how it is sometimes. This time it didn’t work our way. We’re just going to turn the page and start it up again tomorrow.”
Buchholz breaks down start vs. Mets Arizona Republic
Boxberger mentioned that Reyes’ bunt single “kind of threw off the rhythm a little bit,” but he owned up to the loss. As for Avila, who went 0 for 4 to see his batting average dip to .109, Lovullo continues to stand behind his struggling catcher.
“He’s one of our catchers and we’ve got to help do everything we can to encourage him and keep giving him the opportunity,” Lovullo said. “He’s here, he’s one of us and he’s going to get the chance. At some point, it’s going to turn. I don’t think he’s ever gone through something like this in his career … but I know this is a grinding time for him. This is a really tough time.
“As his manager I want to show him that I believe in him. And at some point, I feel very strongly it’s going to turn.”
Reach McManaman at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @azbobbymac and listen to him live every Wednesday night between 7-9 on Fox Sports 910-AM on The Freaks with Kenny and Crash.
Barry M. Bloom,ContributorBoomskie on Baseball Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
New York Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes , recovering from a right hip injury, warms up before a game earlier in June at Citi Field. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
The New York Mets are anxiously awaiting the return of Yoenis Cespedes from a right hip injury that recurred last week during a minor league rehab start.
“He’s still day to day,” beleaguered first-year manager Mickey Callaway said before the Mets dropped a 7-3 decision to the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday night at Chase Field, their 12th loss in the last 13 games. “[He’s] trying to get this soreness out so he can resume baseball activity.”
But they might as well be Waiting for Godot, the mythical Samuel Beckett character who never returns. In that case, Godot wasn’t stymied by repeated lower body injuries caused by lifting very heavy weights.
It’s been the same story everywhere the right-handed Cuban slugger has gone — from Oakland to Boston to Detroit and now New York. Love him or hate him, when he’s in the lineup Cespedes always makes his team a lot better. When he’s not, there are always the stories about his recalcitrance.
If one believes those tales, Cespedes was run out of the Red Sox on a rail. The A’s sent him to Boston at the July 31, 2014, non-waiver trade deadline for left-hander Jon Lester.
It was one of the worst deals ever for both teams. The A’s were almost 100 games over .500 and won two American League West titles when Cespedes was in the lineup. They lost a Wild Card Game to Kansas City with Lester on the mound that season and have never been the same.
Neither player stayed with their respective teams beyond the 2014 season. Boston begged Lester to return that offseason as a free agent, but he signed instead with the Chicago Cubs where he remains.