DENVER — Just when it looked like the Mets would finally have their two dominant aces to lead the rotation, the Colorado Rockies rocked Justin Verlander. One night after Max Scherzer gave the Mets seven strong innings, Verlander gave up five in the second inning alone.
The Mets clawed back from a 6-0 deficit and Verlander was rewarded when Francisco Alvarez launched an absolute moonshot of a home run in the sixth to tie the game at 6-6 and the Mets took a lead in the seventh. But the rally fell short and the Mets lost 10-7 in the second game of a three-game series on Saturday at Coors Field.
A two-run homer by Ryan McMahon in the bottom of the seventh and two insurance runs in the eighth by the Rockies (23-30) secured the win.
Verlander gave up six runs over three innings, with five coming in the second alone. But Pete Alonso hit his league-leading 20th home run in the fourth off Rockies’ starter Chase Anderson in the fourth and Jeff McNeil started a rally with a leadoff single off reliever Brent Suter in the sixth. Two batters later, Brett Baty doubled him home. Alonso scored the third run on an RBI groundout by Starling Marte to cut the Colorado lead in half.
Then came the theatrics.
With two on and two out, the Rockies changed pitchers, going to right-hander Jake Bird. Alvarez fell behind in the count 2-1, but Bird hung a curveball over the fat part of the plate and the rookie catcher drove it 435 feet to tie the game at 6-6.
The Mets pushed one across the plate in the seventh but McMahon then gave the Rockies back the lead with a towering two-run shot of his own off right-hander Jeff Brigham (0-1). The Mets couldn’t punch back this time.
Drew Smith gave up two earned in the bottom of the eighth. Justin Lawrence quieted the Mets’ bats over 1 and 1/3 and Pierce Johnson converted the save. McNeil, Alonso and Baty couldn’t come through a second time.
There were no signs of trouble for Verlander after an eight-pitch first inning. He struck out Ryan McMahon to start the second, but he would face six more batters before finally getting the second out. The Rockies took three straight singles and a double off of him before he walked No. 9 hitter Ezequiel Tovar and gave up another double to leadoff man Charlie Blackmon.
A sacrifice fly and a fantastic catch by Starling Marte finally ended the inning, but the damage was done: The Mets were down 5-0.
Stephen Nogosek got up in the bullpen but Verlander came back out for the third. Colorado tacked on one more. The total was six runs on nine hits and one walk and two strikeouts.
Verlander salvaged a wild start and it was just as wild after his exit.
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