Ian Desmond provided an instant spark for the slumping Rockies in his return from the disabled list, and Nolan Arenado hit one of Colorado's three homers Sunday during a 13-4 rout of Steven Matz and the New York Mets.
Charlie Blackmon was credited with an inside-the-park home run — even though his drive actually cleared the fence — and Gerardo Parra also went deep to help the Rockies win for only the sixth time in 21 games. Despite the recent slide, Colorado began the day with a 5 1/2-game lead in the race for the second NL wild card.
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. He was expecting his parents and fiancee among those in attendance, a Rockies spokesman said.
After outscoring the Rockies 23-5 in the first two games of the series, the Mets had a chance to make up some significant ground on Colorado in the playoff chase by completing a three-game sweep. Matz, however, quickly squandered the opportunity with the worst of his 35 career 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 a three-run shot by Arenado that made it 7-0.
With a runner aboard in the seventh, Blackmon hit a drive that barely cleared the orange line atop the left-center fence and caromed back onto the field. Umpires ruled the ball in play, but center fielder Curtis Granderson was well aware it was a home run, so he took his time picking up the ball and tossing it leisurely toward the infield.
Blackmon, however, streaked around the bases and scored easily. When no replay review was necessary, he wound up with his second inside-the-park homer of the season.
Lucas Duda and Asdrubal Cabrera homered for New York, which fell 9 1/2 games behind the Rockies in the wild-card chase. Time is running out on the Mets before the July 31 trade deadline, when several veterans with expiring contracts could be shipped to contenders.
Rockies: RHP Tyler Chatwood was placed on the 10-day DL with a right calf strain after getting only one out in his start Saturday night. RHP Antonio Senzatela will be recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to start Tuesday against San Diego. ... Desmond was activated before the game. He had been sidelined since July 3 with a strained right calf but returned without a minor league rehab assignment. He started in left field and was removed for a pinch runner with the Rockies leading 9-3 in the sixth. ... Parra, who had three RBIs, was shaken up after beating out a bunt single in the first but stayed in the game. He appeared to clip Duda as the first baseman reached for a wide throw, and Parra flexed his left arm while being checked by a trainer. ... RF Carlos Gonzalez was rested against the lefty and struck out as a pinch hitter in the seventh.
Mets: LF Yoenis Cespedes sat out with a sore left hip after leaving Saturday night's game. New York manager Terry Collins said Cespedes told him he could play if needed. "We'll give him a day to get some treatment and make sure he's ready for tomorrow," Collins said. "I'm just glad there's nothing more serious because it sure looked a lot worse than it turned out to be, and we're glad that it's only going to be a day and not a week or a month." ... Collins said RF Jay Bruce is probably due for a day off this week.
Rockies: Rookie RHP German Marquez (6-4, 4.36 ERA) starts against RHP Luis Perdomo (4-4, 4.54) and the San Diego 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.