Jay Bruce and pitcher Seth Lugo homered during an early barrage that sent the New York Mets past Colorado 9-3 on Saturday night for their second straight lopsided victory over the reeling Rockies out of the All-Star break.
Jose Reyes also went deep and Lucas Duda had a two-run double as New York took full advantage of an injury that knocked wild Colorado starter Tyler Chatwood from the game in the first inning. Lugo (4-2) worked into the seventh with a big lead, but Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes left early after slamming his right knee into the ground while trying to make a sliding catch.
Chatwood (6-11) got only one out and threw just five of 19 pitches for strikes while walking three of the five batters he faced. After giving up Bruce's three-run shot to straightaway center field, the right-hander was checked on the mound by manager Bud Black and a trainer.
Chatwood made three wide practice pitches and was replaced by lefty Chris Rusin, who got all the time he needed to warm up on the mound. There was no immediate word on what specifically was bothering Chatwood, but his quick departure stressed Colorado's bullpen once again after Jon Gray lasted only two-plus innings in a 14-2 defeat the night before.
After a surprising start that had them atop the NL West on June 20, the struggling Rockies have hit the skids. They began the night with a 6 1/2-game lead for the league's second wild card, but they have dropped 15 of 20 overall — and the last two have been particularly ugly.
The Mets came out of the break well aware they needed to make up ground immediately to dissuade general manager Sandy Alderson from shipping off veterans before the July 31 trade deadline. Off to an excellent start, they moved within 8 1/2 games of Colorado (six in the loss column) for the final NL playoff spot.
Lugo hit his first home run as a professional to make it 8-0 in the third, connecting on an 89 mph slider from Rusin on fireworks night at Citi Field.
A career .200 hitter in the majors (5 for 25) coming into the game, Lugo got the silent treatment from teammates when he returned to the dugout with a sheepish grin. They completely ignored him as he feigned high-fives before excited Mets finally swarmed him in celebration on the bench.
Rockies: LF-1B Ian Desmond could be activated Sunday if he comes out of Saturday's pregame workout OK, Black said. Desmond has been on the DL since July 3 with a strained right calf. ... All-Star 3B Nolan Arenado was back in the lineup after leaving Friday night's blowout in the fifth inning with a tight hip. ... OF David Dahl (ribs) was scheduled to play for Triple-A Albuquerque again after going 1 for 4 on Friday in his first game since his rehab assignment was moved from Class-A Lancaster. Black said Dahl has "a long way to go" before returning to the Rockies because he just started getting competitive at-bats. ... RHP Chad Bettis is scheduled to make his second rehab start Tuesday for Double-A Hartford as he works his way back from testicular cancer. After that outing, he's projected to Triple-A, Black said. Bettis pitched two hitless innings Thursday for Hartford but will need to go through a typical spring training-type progression of building up innings one appearance at a time before returning to the Rockies, Black added.
Mets: Cespedes landed hard on his knee and dislodged a huge divot in left field as he tried to snag Arenado's bloop double in the sixth. The slugger went into the All-Star break in a slump but is 5 for 9 in two games since. He returned from the DL on June 10 after missing six weeks with a strained left hamstring. ... LHP Josh Smoker (shoulder strain) allowed one run and three hits in one inning Friday night during a rehab outing for Class-A St. Lucie.
Rockies: Rookie RHP Jeff Hoffman (5-1, 4.15 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday. Hoffman, drafted ninth overall by Toronto in 2014, is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four road starts this year. He grew up about 160 miles from Citi Field in Latham, New York, just shy of a three-hour drive away.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz (2-2, 3.05 ERA) had lasted at least six innings in 10 consecutive starts before getting chased in the fifth Sunday during a 6-0 loss at St. Louis.