Eric Young Jr. never slowed down as he scored from second on Juan Lagares’ infield single in the bottom of the eighth.
He went even faster.
The lightning-quick Mets left fielder made a diving catch to take a go-ahead hit away from Todd Helton in the sixth inning, then raced home with the tiebreaking run in the eighth, and the New York Mets beat the Colorado Rockies 3-2 on Tuesday night.
”Felt good against those guys,” Young said. ”There’s no hard feelings. I’m more appreciative that they made the move they did because I wouldn’t be in this situation if they didn’t. But it was good being able to showcase that.”
The Rockies have lost 12 of 18 since the All-Star break and have scored five runs in their last three games.
LaTroy Hawkins gave up a pair of two-out singles in the ninth before Ike Davis made a diving catch on Yorvit Torrealba’s sinking liner in foul territory down the first base line. It was Hawkins’ first save since May 6, 2012, for the Angels.
Scott Atchison (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning after Carlos Torres pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings in relief of Mets starter Jenrry Mejia.
”I thought he pitched well enough,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. ”I think when the umpire got hurt, the sitting kind of got him off track a little bit. But our bullpen came in did a great job.”
Plate ump Manny Gonzalez was injured when he appeared to be hit in the jaw after a pitch from Mejia bounced up and hit him under the mask. Gonzalez was escorted off under his own power, and second base umpire Larry Vanover had to go change into protective gear to assume duties behind the plate.
Collins said Gonzalez was feeling much better after the game.
Young led off the eighth with a single against Wilton Lopez (1-4). He was able to take second on Marlon Byrd’s deep fly, putting him in position to make it home on Lagares’ infield single, a slow chopper to second base that he just barely beat out. Young accelerated around third and beat the throw home.
”Pretty much I knew it was a slow roller so it was going to be all-out play for the second base to make at first and as long as I continued running the whole way, he had to make the perfect throw to first and the perfect throw to get me.”
Lagares also hit a two-run triple in the first.
Mejia tied a season high with seven strikeouts, but left after 5 1/3 innings. He allowed a tying solo homer to pinch-hitter Chris Blackmon to lead off the sixth and nearly gave up the lead, too, after a long pause in the game when Gonzalez was injured.
Mejia only got one out after the interlude, though third baseman Wilmer Flores committed an error on a tough hop off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer walked. Torres came on with the bases loaded and retired Wilin Rosario on a pop fly to center too shallow to score a run before Young made his diving grab on Helton’s liner.
”That’s what he’s brought to us, that energy, that speed,” Collins said. ”I can’t emphasize enough the job that he’s done since he’s been here. He’s gotten on base when we needed him to. He scores runs like that. He’s played great in the outfield.”
Flores was making his big league debut. He mostly played shortstop in the Mets system, but filled in at third because David Wright was hurt last weekend.
Chad Bettis, who made the start while Tyler Chatwood got pushed back a few days to let his tweaked hamstring rest, allowed two runs and four hits in five innings.
Bettis settled down after Lagares’ triple, and the Rockies got a run back for him in the fifth, when Rosario hit a leadoff single and scored on a sacrifice fly. Davis lifted his glove over Helton’s grounder to first base for an error, allowing Rosario to take third with nobody out. After he scored, D.J. LeMahieu hit into an inning-ending double play.
Those stranded runners loomed large later, when Young, who was traded to New York on June 18 for right-hander Collin McHugh, scored. The Rockies knew what Young could do, but couldn’t find room for him in their lineup or bench.
”He’s got game-changing speed, and it got them a win tonight,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
NOTES: Davis went 2 for 2 with a pair of walks to reach safely in all his plate appearances on Tuesday night. He has a .446 on-base percentage since returning from Triple-A Las Vegas on July 5. … Mets RHP Matt Harvey (8-3) is expected to face Rockies RHP Jhoulys Chacin (10-5) in Wednesday’s game. … Mets LHP Jonathon Niese struck out six and allowed two runs and four hits in five innings of a rehab start at Double-A Binghamton. … Lagares has 12 RBIs since the All-Star break.