Culberson’s HR Lifts Rockies Over Mets 11-10
In the aftermath of a difficult loss, New York Mets manager Terry Collins saw some encouraging signs.
Pinch hitter Charlie Culberson hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning off Kyle Farnsworth, and the Colorado Rockies, down by six runs early, rallied again to beat the New York Mets 11-10 in a wild affair on Saturday night.
“The guys fought back time and again tonight,” Collins said. “We swung the bats very well. This is a park that’s known for your last at-bat.”
The Mets had weathered an eight-run fifth inning by Colorado, that included Nolan Arenado’s grand slam, and took a 10-9 lead on Juan Lagares’ RBI single in the ninth inning off LaTroy Hawkins (1-0).
But Troy Tulowitzki, who recorded his 1,000th career hit earlier, singled off Farnsworth (0-2) to start the bottom of the ninth. He advanced to second on a deep flyout by Arenado, and Culberson followed with a drive off a 1-2 pitch from Farnsworth that cleared the center field wall.
Farnsworth said he didn’t quite get the location he wanted on the fateful pitch.
“Fastball away, it hit the middle I guess,” Farnsworth said. “He got a good swing on it. It’s always difficult. We just have to keep on battling. Guys played well tonight and we came out on the wrong end of it.”
It was a sudden finish to a game in which the teams combined for 30 hits, including Arenado’s slam that extended his major league-best hitting streak to 23 games.
Tulowitzki had his milestone hit in the seventh when he singled up the middle off reliever Daisuke Matsuzaka. The ninth-year pro became the fifth Rockies player with 1,000 hits and the 78th active player to reach the milestone. He scored from third on Jordan Pacheco’s sacrifice fly to give Colorado a 9-8 lead, but the Mets tied it again in the eighth on Chris Young’s RBI single.
Staked to an early 6-0 lead, Jenrry Mejia had blanked the Rockies through the first four innings and seemed headed toward the solid pitching outing New York needed. Instead, he became the third Mets starter in a row to fail to get out of the fifth after the rotation began the season with 26 straight starts of at least five innings.
The turnaround was triggered by Ryan Wheeler’s first home run of the season leading off the fifth. The Rockies sent 11 men to the plate in the inning.
In one stunning five-pitch stretch, Mejia gave up RBI singles to Charlie Blackmon, Drew Stubbs and Carlos Gonzalez as the Rockies made it 6-4.
Mejia then hit Tulowitzki in his upper left arm with a pitch to load the bases, and Arenado drove the next pitch into the left field bleachers for his second career slam and the first by a Rockies player this season. Arenado also tied Dante Bichette for the second longest hitting streak in Rockies history.
Collins said his one regret was leaving Mejia in the game to pitch to Arenado.
“Arenado did not have particularly good swings against Mejia,” said Collins, noting Arenado had grounded out twice previously. “I thought he could get another groundball out of him. Looking back, yeah, I should have taken him out, but I didn’t.”
Matsuzaka then relieved Mejia, who gave up eight runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings.
The Mets, who built a 6-0 lead off Rockies starter Franklin Morales, fought back in the sixth to tie it at 8, getting a run-scoring double from Young and an RBI single from Curtis Granderson.
Daniel Murphy got the Mets going with a one-out triple in the first and scored when David Wright followed with a double. Anthony Recker and Lucas Duda added RBI singles.
New York added to its lead when Wright singled to start the third, stole second and took third on a groundout. He scored on Granderson’s single, and Granderson came in on a double by Anthony Recker, who scored on third baseman Arenado’s throwing error.
NOTES: RHP Jhoulys Chacin, who began the season on the disabled list because of a right shoulder strain, is slated to make his season debut Sunday for the Rockies against Mets RHP Dillon Gee (2-1). … Wright, who had three hits, has a career batting average of .391 at Coors Field, his highest at any ballpark.
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