DENVER (AP) — Marcus Stroman provided a boost to the New York Mets’ flickering playoff hopes.
Stroman pitched seven shutout innings, Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo and Pete Alonso all homered in the sixth to break open a scoreless game and the Mets beat the Colorado Rockies 6-1 on Tuesday night.
“We show up with the same confidence every day,” Stroman said. “I think we can rattle up some wins here. We can get hot. I think everyone believes that, so it’s just a matter of going out there and doing it.”
New York pulled within four games of Chicago and Milwaukee for the second NL wild-card berth. The Mets have 11 games left in the regular season.
“We’re going to try to grab as many games as we possibly can,” Alonso said. “Every win matters and we’re going to keep trying to play our best baseball coming down the stretch.”
Stroman (9-13) allowed four hits, struck out seven and walked one in helping the Mets bounce back from consecutive losses.
“We couldn’t solve him today,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Good movement on his pitches in the hitting area, that’s what I saw from the side. Fastball had a little bit of takeoff, had some run. Had a hard cutter. Mixed in some breaking balls. We just didn’t square many balls up.”
Tim Melville (2-3) had put up zeroes right along with Stroman, facing the minimum through five innings with an assist from his defense, which turned three double plays while he was on the mound.
But Todd Frazier singled to start the sixth and Rosario followed by driving a 1-1 offering from Melville into the left field bleachers for his 13th home run and a 2-0 lead.
One out later, Nimmo tagged the first pitch he saw for his seventh of the season. Melville got Jeff McNeil to fly out before Alonso, getting the green light on a 3-0 pitch, connected for his 48th home run. The ball landed among the stand of evergreens beyond the center field fence, and Melville was relieved by Philip Diehl.
“I feel like a lot of us were taking really good swings,” Alonso said. “Unfortunately, in the game of baseball, it’s nine against one and sometimes you hit them right at people. You hit the ball hard and it doesn’t necessarily show up in the results. But I feel like we were having quality at-bats and it all eventually came together. That sixth inning was nice, really nice.”
Alonso, who added an RBI single in the Mets’ eighth, is one homer shy of tying Mark McGwire for the second-most home runs by a rookie in a season. The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge hit 52 home runs as a rookie in 2017.
Charlie Blackmon homered off Luis Avilan with two outs in the ninth for the Rockies’ lone run.
Stroman, acquired from Toronto in a July 28 trade, improved to 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in his nine starts for New York. The Mets have gone 6-3 with Stroman on the mound.
CONGRATULATIONS AND THANKS
Former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, a two-time Super Bowl winner, was in attendance and offered his congratulations to Alonso, leaning across a railing near the visitors dugout to deliver some encouraging words to the Mets standout rookie as he rejoined his team after hitting his sixth-inning homer.
“He just shook my hand,” Alonso said. “He said, ‘Hey, I’m Mike Shanahan.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I know.’ My dad raised me right. My dad is a big football guy. He grew up playing football, played college football and when I was playing football he made sure I knew who certain people were and he was definitely one of those guys. He just said, ‘Good swing. It’s fun watching you play. Keep doing it.’ I’m like, ‘Thanks.'”
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland threw some 40 pitches in a simulated game in a major step toward returning from a left groin strain. The team remains hopeful he’ll be able to pitch one or two more times before the end of this season. Freeland said he felt fine after the throwing session. “All pitches felt good,” Freeland said. “Leg held up well, so was able to go 100 percent. All in all, it felt really good today.” Freeland has been on the 10-day injured list since Aug. 21.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (10-8, 4.15 ERA) is slated to make his first career start against Colorado at Coors Field. He has gone 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four previous starts against Colorado, all at home.
Rockies: RHP Jeff Hoffman (2-6, 7.03 ERA) is making his second start of the season against the Mets. He took the loss in the first encounter on June 9, allowing six hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 innings.
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