DENVER — Max Scherzer has accomplished a lot in his 16-year, Hall-of-Fame-worthy career, but one of the few things that eluded him was a win at Coors Field.
Scherzer (4-2) finally conquered that mountain Friday night in Denver, pitching the Mets to a 5-2 win in the first game of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies. It was a vintage performance from the right-hander, who went seven innings for the first time this season in the win – his first in Colorado in six tries.
Scherzer only allowed one earned run on six hits and struck out eight. He got 19 swings and misses and did not allow a walk, which was also a season-best mark.
After a slow start to the season, a suspension and some nagging injuries, Scherzer has allowed only two earned runs over his last three starts. He’s looking a lot more like his old self.
Ryan McMahon led off the second inning with a home run and Scherzer didn’t allow another hit until the fifth. He had runners on the corners in the seventh but he got No. 9 hitter Ezequiel Tovar to pop up to the end inning.
The Mets’ key leaders keyed them to victory. Brandon Nimmo, who grew up coming to Rockies games while growing up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, hit two triples for a new career and reached base five times, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three walks. Francisco Lindor went 2-for-4 with four RBI and a two-run home and Brett Baty went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Nimmo took a full-count slider from Brad Hand and drove it into center field for a standup triple in the ninth, allowing him to score easily on a fly ball by Lindor. He isn’t quite a hometown kid, but he’s something like it and it shows in the way he hits at the ballpark of his childhood.
The Mets (27-25) wasted no time in taking the lead with Francisco Lindor hitting his eighth home run of the season in the first inning off right-hander Connor Seabold (1-2) to put the Mets up 2-0. Up 2-1 in the fifth, Nimmo tripled with one out and Lindor only needed a base knock to send him home.
Jeff McNeil then reached on an error for the second time in the game when Alan Trejo failed to glove a bad throw from third baseman Ryan McMahon. Baty went the other way with a single to left to score Lindor and make it 4-1.
The fifth inning made up for their inability to drive in runners and capitalize on Colorado’s miscues in the third. A hit batter, a walk and another error loaded the bases with no outs, but Pete Alonso and Baty struck out to end the inning.
Charlie Blackmon took David Robertson deep to start the eighth inning and give Colorado (22-30) some hope. But the Mets made it through an eventful top of the ninth and Adam Ottavino converted his fith save to secure their seventh win in their last 10 games.
It was almost exactly how the Mets envisioned winning games when the start of this roller-coaster of a season began.