The first half of Tuesday night’s game was an unlikely pitcher’s duel in a ballpark that is not known for featuring many of those. Marcus Stroman of the New York Mets and Tim Melville of the Colorado Rockies matched zeroes through five innings, with neither offense figuring out how to solve the opposing team’s pitcher. That all changed in the sixth, as the Mets put up a four-spot on the backs of three home runs to help them end their mini two-game skid.
Stroman turned in his best performance as a Met, tossing seven shutout innings while scattering four hits. He utilized his cutter effectively as a put-away pitch and showed great command, only walking one while striking out seven. He got off to a good start with a 1-2-3 first inning while striking out Nolan Arenado on a slider. After walking Charlie Blackmon to lead off the second, he got Ryan McMahon to ground into a double play to end the threat. He worked around a leadoff single from Sam Hilliard in the third and had his most impressive inning in the fourth, striking out Daniel Murphy and Blackmon on cutters. Hilliard picked up his second hit of the game with two outs in the fifth, but Stroman again kept him from advancing beyond first base.
Offensively, the Mets’ lineup was dormant against Melville, who was working at a BBQ restaurant in the offseason and picked up his first victory of the year with the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League before joining Colorado. The Mets hit into four double plays on the night and had trouble getting anything going in the notoriously hitter-friendly Coors Field. In the first, Pete Alonso grounded into a double play after a Jeff McNeil leadoff walk. Amed Rosario picked up his 100th road hit of the year, which leads all National League hitters, with one out in the third, but he was erased on a Stroman double play. After a 1-2-3 fourth, Wilson Ramos picked up a one out single down the right field line in the fifth but was doubled up on a Michael Conforto line out to Arenado. The out extended Conforto’s slump to 0-for-14. Through five innings, Melville had faced the minimum.
The offense finally awoke from its slumber with a big sixth inning that broke the game open and forced Melville out of the contest. Todd Frazier led off with a single and came around to score after Amed Rosario took a pitch up in the zone and drove it over the left field wall for a two-run home run. It was his 166th hit of the 2019 season, which ranks eighth among all National League hitters. After Stroman was retired, Brandon Nimmo hit his second home run in as many nights as he lifted a ball just beyond the fence in left. Two batters later, Alonso hit a towering drive to center field that went for an estimated 467 feet and closed the book on Melville. It was Alonso’s 48th home run of the season, which put him one ahead of the Cincinnati’s Eugenio Suarez for the major league lead and brought him to within four of Aaron Judge for the all-time single season rookie mark, which currently stands at 52. Before passing Judge, Alonso will have the opportunity to eclipse Mark McGuire, who hit 49 in his rookie season and is second on that list.
The long inning didn’t have a negative effect on Stroman, who took the hill after not throwing a pitch for about 20 minutes and surrendered a one-out single to Trevor Story but was otherwise unharmed. He got into a bit of trouble after surrendering a leadoff single to Blackmon in the seventh, but he got McMahon to line out and then Raimel Tapia to strike out. On the latter, Ramos threw out Blackmon at second on an attempted steal to end the inning.
The Mets picked up a much-needed insurance run in the eighth to put the game away against reliever Wes Parsons. They got their first two runners on with a Joe Panik pinch-hit single and a Nimmo walk, which was followed by a McNeil strikeout. Alonso came up next and drove in his second run of the game with a bloop single into right field over the head of the first baseman Murphy. The former Met recovered to retrieve the ball and throw out Alonso at second base for the out, and Robinson Cano grounded out to finish the eighth. The Mets added one more in the ninth, with a Todd Frazier single bringing home Ramos, who led off the inning with a double.
Sensing that they needed the game and not trusting many of the other options in their bullpen, Mickey Callaway turned to Justin Wilson with five-run lead in the eighth. Wilson got the first two batters out before surrendering a double to pinch hitter Pat Valaika. He bounced back to strike out Story for the third and final out. In the ninth, Callaway went to Luis Avilan, who gave up a monstrous solo home run to Blackmon into the upper deck in right center field. Despite the minor hiccup, Avilan closed out the win for the Mets.
The Mets will turn to Noah Syndergaard to get them a series win tomorrow afternoon before the heading to face the Cincinnati Reds. Rene Rivera will be behind the plate tomorrow with Ramos catching on Tuesday. After the victory, the Mets find themselves four games back of the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Wild Card race with 11 games left on the schedule.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Marcus Stroman, 40.8% WPA, Amed Rosario, 20.9% WPA
Big losers: None!
Total pitcher WPA: 43.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: 6.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Amed Rosario two-run home run, 20.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Michael Conforto lines out into double play, -7.9% WPA