Eric Young Jr. dashed down the first base line and slid headfirst into the bag ahead of an errant throw. Soon after that, the Colorado Rockies bats’ really got cracking.
Carlos Gonzalez was at the center of an 11-run fifth inning, hitting a homer and a single for five of his six RBIs, and the Rockies overcame Scott Hairston’s cycle in an 18-9 win over the New York Mets on Friday night.
”Every time I hit the ball I run hard. It’s the right way to play the game,” Young said. ”You play hard, hopefully it rubs off. And right after, everybody else started stretching out the hits.”
Ramon Hernandez hit his sixth career grand slam – the first for the Rockies this season – and Troy Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler also homered for Colorado, which set a season high for runs.
The Mets showed some firepower of their own as Hairston became the 10th player in team history and first in the majors this season to hit for the cycle. He drove in four runs but it wasn’t enough on a night when pitching was an afterthought and the ball was flying all over the place in the Mile High City’s thin air.
”It is bittersweet,” Hairston said. ”It was great while it was happening. But when they kept scoring runs, it really wasn’t that enjoyable, to say the least.”
The fireworks began in earnest after Young, pinch-hitting for reliever Esmil Rogers, furiously ran out a comebacker and reached on an error.
”It was a phenomenal offensive game that began with an extraordinary hustle play by Eric Young Jr.,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. ”There were an awful lot of special at-bats in that inning, but you cannot go without mentioning his hustle and effort.”
Young reached when pitcher Chris Schwinden threw high to first for an error, one of six by the Mets – one shy of the team record.
”That was huge, a great hustle play. He definitely gave us a spark,” Tulowitzki said.
Mets manager Terry Collins said the sloppy defensive effort concerned him.
”Certainly you can’t do it anymore,” he said. ”There were strange circumstances behind them all. The answer is you have to keep the ball in the ballpark.”
Young stole second and went to third on catcher Mike Nickeas’ throwing error before Marco Scutaro drew a walk to load the bases.
Jonathan Herrera singled to drive in the first run of the inning. Gonzalez followed with a three-run shot that landed in the stand of evergreens behind the center-field wall, finishing Schwinden, who was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo before the game to start in place of injured Mike Pelfrey.
Tulowitzki greeted reliever Manny Acosta (0-1) with an RBI single and Hernandez had an RBI fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning.
Fowler, who had been dropped from No. 2 to No. 8 in the order in hopes of bringing his slumping bat to life, connected for the inning’s second three-run shot when he drove Acosta’s 1-1 pitch into the right-field seats.
Young, up for the second time in the inning, drew a walk. Scutaro singled and Acosta hit Herrera with a pitch to load the bases again for Gonzalez, who lashed a two-run single to right.
”Hitting’s kind of contagious and we ran off a few in a row, and got some momentum,” Tulowitzki said.
The Rockies sent 14 batters to the plate against three Mets pitchers in the fifth in their biggest outburst since scoring a team-record 12 runs in the eighth inning on July 30, 2010, against the Chicago Cubs. They emerged from the inning with a 13-6 lead.
The 11 runs allowed by the Mets matched the club record for an inning.
Miguel Bautista relieved and retired Todd Helton and Michael Cuddyer to finally bring the inning to a close.
Gonzalez also drove in a run with a first-inning groundout. His six RBIs tied a career best.
It was the ninth time in franchise history that the Mets made at least six errors and first since a 10-6 loss to Philadelphia on Sept. 16, 2007. New York had seven errors against Pittsburgh on Aug. 1, 1996.
Hernandez connected for his slam off reliever Ramon Ramirez in the seventh.
Matt Reynolds (3-0) picked up the win with an inning of work.
Hairston completed his cycle with a two-run double off reliever Josh Roenicke in the sixth, helping the Mets pull to 13-9. It was the 11th time that a player has hit for the cycle at Coors Field, and the fifth time by an opponent.
Notes: Pelfrey was scheduled to see orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews on Monday in Birmingham, Ala., to determine for certain whether he should undergo season-ending reconstructive surgery on his right elbow. … Mets OF Andres Torres (strained left calf) was scheduled for a minor league rehab assignment this weekend with Buffalo and will likely be activated on Monday. … The Rockies’ four homers set a season high. … The Mets had season highs in runs and hits (17). … The slugfest lasted 3 hours, 47 minutes.