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The Baby Mets come up short in Denver

The offense overcomes an ugly Verlander outing, but the bullpen blows a short-lived lead late in Colorado

MLB: New York Mets at Colorado Rockies Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Sterling performances from Brett Baty, Mark Vientos, and especially Francisco Álvarez inspired a six-run comeback, but Colorado tattooed the Mets’ bullpen late as the Rockies defeated the Mets 10-7 Saturday night in Denver.

In typical 2023 fashion, the Mets found themselves down early. Justin Verlander, who had given up first-inning runs in three of his four starts this season, took care of the first three Rockies batters in just nine pitches.

The real damage came in the second inning, however, when Randal Grichuk, Harold Castro, and Nolan Jones strung together three-straight singles to put the Rockies up 1-0. A subsequent double from Alan Trejo gave the Rockies their second run, and after Ezequiel Tovar’s walk loaded the bases, Charlie Blackmon’s double drove in another two to make the score 4-0.

A leaping catch from Starling Marte on a Jurickson Profar rocket saved two runs from scoring, but the sacrifice brought in Tovar for the fifth run of the inning. Another leaping catch from Brandon Nimmo in left-center mercifully ended the inning, but not before Verlander allowed five runs on five hits over 37 pitches.

Verlander’s troubles continued into the third inning, where singles from Ryan McMahon and Castro and a double from Jones pushed the sixth run across the board with just one out. A hard grounder off Verlander’s leg allowed the Mets to tag out Castro at home to prevent another run, and a Tovar grounder to Francisco Lindor allowed a force out at second and an end to another struggle-filled inning. Verlander finished with six runs allowed through five innings, but the Mets’ offense came through to at least spare him the loss.

Pete Alonso deposited a one-out fastball into the left-field bleachers in the top of the fourth for his league-leading 20th home run of the season. Since no one else reached base in the fourth, the home run only cut the Rockies’ lead to five, but the runs would come shortly.

The Mets' offense put runners on in the sixth and this time found a way to drive them home. A Brett Baty opposite-field double scored Jeff McNeil from second and put Alonso on third with no one out, and a groundout from Marte scored Alonso and allowed Baty to advance to third. And with two outs, two strikes, and two runners on, Álvarez tied the game at 6-6 with his seventh home run of the season, a gargantuan blast that brought the visiting crowd back into the game.

As the rain started falling, a single from McNeil, an advancing groundout from Baty, and an opposite-field single from Marte gave the Mets their first lead with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Canha’s two-out single elongated the affair, but a Vientos groundout ended the inning with the Mets on top for the first time.

But the lead didn’t last long. Newly trusted in high-leverage situations, Jeff Brigham allowed a leadoff double to Elías Díaz and then a go-ahead home run to McMahon in the bottom of the seventh to dig the Mets an 8-7 deficit. Brigham labored through his last three outs without allowing any more runs, but the effort brought the same result, putting the Mets down with only two innings to come back.

The new challenge quickly snowballed, as Drew Smith could not plug the leak with the rain still pouring in the eighth inning. With Tovar on first base and one out, Profar hit an RBI triple to right field and Díaz followed with an RBI single past Lindor shifted onto the infield grass. Those two insurance runs gave the Rockies a 10-7 lead heading into the ninth, and that’s all they would need as Pierce Johnson locked down the save.

The Mets and Rockies play a rubber game later today at 3:10 ET, with Tylor Megil set to face Austin Gomber.

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Win Probability Added


What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Francisco Álvarez, +16% WPA

Big Mets loser: Jeff Brigham, -31% WPA

Mets pitchers: -59% WPA

Mets hitters: +9% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Álvarez home run, 28.1% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Ryan McMahon home run, 24.8%