As the Mets prepared for the start of their second half Friday afternoon, Sandy Alderson sat in front of a room full of reporters and said his team would have to play “exceedingly well” for him to not sell at the trade deadline.
These first two games certainly fall in that category.
The Mets offense exploded for the second straight night Saturday in a 9-3 thrashing of the Rockies at Citi Field. On Friday, the Mets dropped 14 runs on Colorado to kick off the post All-Star weekend with a bang.
They’re now just six games behind the Rockies in the loss column in the race for the second N.L. wild card.
Backing up a solid performance from righthander Seth Lugo, the Mets scored four runs in the first inning Saturday and three runs in the second. They added another in the third on Lugo’s first-career home run to build an eight-run advantage that proved insurmountable.
The lone dark spot in an otherwise flawless performance was yet another injury for Yoenis Cespedes, who appeared to tweak his hip while sliding for a ball in left field in the sixth inning.
Cespedes departed the game after a lengthy discussion with manager Terry Collins. The Cuban outfielder missed a month-and-a-half earlier this season because of a left hamstring strain and also battled quad soreness while working his way back from that initial ailment.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Lugo entered his start Saturday night with just five career hits in 23 games. But with the Mets ahead 7-0 in the bottom of the third inning, the 27-year-old jumped all over a hanging first-pitch slider from Colorado lefty Chris Rusin, blasting a line drive over the 370 sign in left-center field. Lugo returned to the dugout after rounding the bases, and the Mets gave him the silent treatment. Lugo gave high-fives to the air before his teammates finally relented and mobbed him in celebration.
Jay Bruce stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first inning with Michael Conforto and Asdrubal Cabrera on base. In a 1-0 count, Rockies righthander Tyler Chatwood grooved a 94-mph two-seam fastball that ran back over the center of the plate. Bruce demolished over the fence in center field for a three-run homer. The Mets never looked back.
STAR OF THE GAME
Lugo, who allowed three earned runs over 6.2 innings and added his memorable long ball.
QUOTHE OF THE DAY
“I about to go out on deck and (assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler) told me to let it eat there, pitch. So I said, ‘All right, I’ll let it eat.’ And then jogging around the bases was pretty surreal. I always looked forward to that moment when I was little kid, you know? It was pretty killer.” – Lugo on his home run
STAT OF THE DAY
Six – number of home runs hit by Mets pitchers since the start of the 2016 season. Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom and Lugo all have one. Noah Syndergaard has hit three.
Jose Reyes, who went 2-for-4 with a home run and is now hitting .385 since June 24.
Chatwood, who left the game with an injury in the first inning after allowing the dinger to Bruce and walking Rivera.
Sunday, July 16 vs. Colorado, 1:10 p.m.
LHP Steven Matz (2-2, 3.05) vs. RHP Jeff Hoffman (5-1, 4.15)