Sports

Desmond returns from DL, sparks Rockies to 13-4 rout of Mets

New York Mets center fielder Curtis Granderson (3) chases down Colorado Rockies' Charlie Blackmon's seventh-inning two-run home run in a baseball game Sunday, July 16, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

New York Mets center fielder Curtis Granderson (3) chases down Colorado Rockies' Charlie Blackmon's seventh-inning two-run home run in a baseball game Sunday, July 16, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK — Nobody tried to stop Charlie Blackmon as he went tearing around the bases. Not even the New York Mets.

A hustling Blackmon was credited with an inside-the-park home run — even though his shot actually went over the fence — and the Colorado Rockies romped to a 13-4 victory Sunday that prevented a three-game sweep.

"That was a big one," manager Bud Black said .

Ian Desmond provided an instant spark in his return from the disabled list, and Nolan Arenado hit a three-run homer as Colorado routed Steven Matz and the Mets. Gerardo Parra also went deep to help the slumping Rockies win for only the sixth time in 21 games.

With a runner aboard in the seventh inning, Blackmon launched a drive that barely cleared the orange line atop the left- centre wall and caromed back onto the grass. Umpires ruled the ball in play, but centre fielder Curtis Granderson was well aware it was a home run. So he took his time picking up the ball, and leisurely tossed it toward the infield.

"I'm not going to run after a ball I know is over the fence," Granderson said.

Blackmon wasn't so sure. Waved home by third base coach Stu Cole, the two-time All-Star raced around the basepaths and scored uncontested.

"I didn't think it was going to go out," Blackmon said. "When I saw it bouncing around, I just assumed it hit the wall."

With no replay review necessary, Blackmon wound up with his second inside-the-park homer of the season. He said Parra told him he was "the only guy that ever hit two home runs in one at-bat."

DJ LeMahieu and Mark Reynolds each had four of Colorado's 18 hits to back rookie Jeff Hoffman (6-1), handed a huge early lead while pitching with family and friends in the stands.

Hoffman grew up about 160 miles north of Citi Field in Latham, New York, just shy of a three-hour drive away.

"It felt great," he said. "It's crazy whenever I come to the East Coast because a lot of my family doesn't get to see me, so it gets crowded real quick."

Colorado set season highs for runs, hits and extra-base hits (10). Despite their recent slide, the Rockies hold a 5 1/2-game lead for the second NL wild card.

"We just needed a win," Hoffman said. "Get us back to Denver with a good taste in our mouth."

After outscoring Colorado 23-5 in the first two games of the series, the Mets had a chance to make up some significant ground on the Rockies by completing a three-game sweep. Matz, however, quickly squandered the opportunity with the worst of his 35 major league starts.

The left-hander gave up a two-run single to Desmond with two outs in the first inning and a two-run double to Trevor Story. Colorado then opened the second with four straight hits to chase Matz (2-3), including Arenado's homer that made it 7-0.

"I was leaving balls right over the middle of the plate," said Matz, who allowed nine hits. "It's frustrating, but I've got to flush it."

Lucas Duda and Asdrubal Cabrera homered for New York, which fell 9 1/2 games behind the Rockies in the wild-card hunt. Time is running out on the Mets to make a playoff push before the July 31 trade deadline, when several veterans with expiring contracts could be shipped to contenders.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rockies: RHP Tyler Chatwood was placed on the 10-day DL with a right calf strain. RHP Antonio Senzatela will be recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to start Tuesday against San Diego. ... The versatile Desmond was activated before the game and started in left field. He went 2 for 3 with a walk before being lifted for a pinch runner with Colorado leading 9-3 in the sixth. Desmond had been sidelined since July 3 with a strained right calf. ... Parra, who had three RBIs, was shaken up after beating out a bunt single in the first but stayed in the game.

Mets: LF Yoenis Cespedes sat out with a sore left hip but is expected back in the lineup Monday night. ... RF Jay Bruce is probably due for a day off this week, manager Terry Collins said.

ROAD SHOW

Hoffman allowed four runs in six innings, improving to 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in five starts away from home this season. He estimated about 30 or 40 friends and family members were on hand, including his parents, brother and fiancee. But he only left one ticket himself. "I let them fend for themselves because especially in a city like this, it can get expensive," Hoffman said.

FRESH ARM

After the game, the Mets recalled reliever Hansel Robles from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned fellow right-hander Chase Bradford to their top farm club.

UP NEXT

Rockies: Rookie RHP German Marquez (6-4, 4.36 ERA) starts against RHP Luis Perdomo (4-4, 4.54) and the Padres when Colorado begins a six-game homestand Monday night. Marquez gave up six runs and eight hits in five innings of an 8-5 loss at San Diego on June 2.

Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-6, 4.86 ERA) faces RHP Adam Wainwright (10-5, 5.20) and the visiting Cardinals in the opener of a four-game series Monday night. Wheeler pitched well but lost at St. Louis in his most recent start July 8.

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