Mets reel in 9-3 win over struggling Rockies
NEW YORK -- Seth Lugo couldn't recall the exact details of his final collegiate home run. He'll definitely remember the exact details of his first professional home run.
Lugo picked up the win by tossing 6 2/3 solid innings Saturday night, when he helped his own cause by hitting a solo homer in the Mets' 9-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field.
While Lugo understands he earns his keep as a pitcher and not a hitter, he couldn't help but smile broadly when the first question for him at his postgame press conference was about the home run.
"The jog around the bases was pretty surreal," Lugo said. "I always looked forward to that moment when I was a little kid, you know?"
The Mets were already up 7-0 when Lugo crushed the first pitch he saw from Chris Rusin in the third inning into the party deck just beyond the left field wall.
"I knew I hit a line drive, I didn't know if it had enough spin to stay in the air," Lugo said. "I was watching (and saying) 'Get up! Get up! Yeah!'"
The homer was the first for Lugo since his final season at Centenary College in 2011.
"I hit two that year," Lugo said. "I remember the first one. I can't really remember the second one, though."
There will be plenty reminders of the one he hit Saturday. In addition to the many videos he'll be able to find on the Internet, Lugo won't soon forget his awkward, upright-running trot -- "I think I've just got an awkward jog, running's never been my strong point" - nor the tongue-in-cheek cold shoulder he got upon returning to the dugout, where second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera didn't offer the usual welcome he gives to a Met who has just homered.
"Everyone who hits a homer, 'Cabby' takes off the helmet and low-fives them," Lugo said. "I've always looked forward to that. I knew I was going to get a home run sometime, but I had to give it to myself."
On the mound, Lugo (4-2) gave up three runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out five.
"They put up seven runs in the first two innings, no reason not to throw strikes there," Lugo said.
Jay Bruce gave the Mets all the offense they needed with a three-run homer in the first inning against Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood (6-11), who got just one out before departing with a calf injury.
Travis d'Arnaud had an RBI single later in the first and T.J. Rivera (RBI single) and Lucas Duda (two-run double) each had run-scoring hits in the second.
Jose Reyes homered leading off the eighth and finished with two hits and a stolen base for the Mets (41-47), who have won the first two games of the three-game series by a combined score of 23-5 to move within 8 1/2 games of the reeling Rockies (52-41) in the wild-card standings in the National League.
The lone hiccup for the Mets Saturday occurred in the sixth inning, when the Rockies scored twice and New York left fielder Yoenis Cespedes left with a sore hip after he slid awkwardly in pursuit of a sinking liner by Nolan Arenado. Cespedes said afterward he felt fine and that team doctors told him he didn't suffer a serious injury.
"I doubt he's going to be in there (Sunday), just as a precaution," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Chatwood (6-11) looks headed for a more extended stint on the shelf after his abbreviated outing, during which he allowed four runs, one hit and three walks while striking out none. Chatwood said he felt something in the calf while warming up but tried to pitch through it.
"These calf strains, as you know from history -- not only from players around the league but what we've seen recently with Ian (Desmond, who is on the 10-day disabled list with a right calf strain) -- that these are a little tricky," Rockies manager Bud Black said.
Chatwood opened the game by walking Michael Conforto and Asdrubal Cabrera on nine pitches and was pulled for Chris Rusin after issuing a four-pitch walk to Rivera after Bruce's homer. It was just the seventh time in Rockies history a starter has one out or fewer and the first time since Kip Wells lasted just one-third of an inning on July 21, 2008.
"I was essentially using all arm, which isn't ideal for a guy who's had two Tommy John's," said Chatwood, who underwent the ligament replacement surgery as a high school sophomore and again in 2014.
Gerardo Parra (sacrifice fly), Raimel Tapia (RBI double) and Charlie Blackmon (run-scoring triple) had an RBI apiece for the Rockies, who have lost 15 of 20. Arenado and D.J. LeMahieu had two hits each.
NOTES: Mets 3B T.J. Rivera extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Mets SS Jose Reyes stole his 499th career base in the third inning. ... Rockies INF/OF Ian Desmond (right calf strain) worked out during batting practice and could be activated from the 10-day disabled list for Sunday's series finale. ... Rockies OF Charlie Blackmon extended his hitting streak to 10 games.