DENVER | Nolan Arenado welcomed his chances at the plate in clutch situations.
The star slugger hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning and a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth that gave the Colorado Rockies a 5-4 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
“To be honest with you, I want those at-bats, those moments,” said Arenado, who came through with his fifth career walk-off hit and second this season.
“I want to hit in them, obviously. I don’t like failing in them, but I don’t mind it. I feel comfortable, as comfortable as you can be in those moments. I just want to do the best I can and I want to do my best to drive those runs in.”
Charlie Blackmon helped put Arenado in position to deliver the game-winner when he crashed into the center-field fence for an outstanding catch that robbed Asdrubal Cabrera of extra bases and ended the top of the ninth.
“He put a pretty good swing on that ball,” Blackmon said. “I took off after it. I knew it was hit really well so I put my head down for a few steps and tried to make up some ground. I got close enough to where I thought I might be able to make a play on it, so I went for it.”
Said Arenado: “That was huge for us to see Charlie make that play. It was a huge momentum shift for us. Just a great catch and it fired everyone up. Then he had a great at-bat.”
In the bottom half, the Rockies took advantage of a misplay by new Mets shortstop Amed Rosario, a touted prospect making his major league debut.
Blackmon drew a leadoff walk from Hansel Robles (6-2) and DJ LeMahieu followed with an infield single off the glove of Rosario, unable to make the backhand play after initially breaking toward second base with Blackmon running on the pitch.
“It was actually pretty difficult, one of the tougher plays I’ve seen in this game,” Rosario said through a translator.
Arenado then reached out and looped a single to center field, scoring Blackmon.
Moments after a tough loss, Rosario received words of support and encouragement from veteran teammates.
“It means a lot,” he said. “That’s part of the game. I’ll shake it off.”
Mets manager Terry Collins said Rosario caught a tough break.
“He shouldn’t be upset about that play. It was a tough play,” Collins said.
Mike Dunn (3-1) pitched an inning of scoreless relief for the win.
Rosario got his first big league hit in the eighth and turned in several solid defensive plays. Jay Bruce hit a solo homer off Colorado reliever Chris Rusin in the eighth to give the Mets a 4-3 lead, but the Rockies came right back in their half to tie it on Carlos Gonzalez’s RBI single.
With the Rockies trailing 2-0 in the sixth, Blackmon singled and LeMahieu doubled off starter Steven Matz to begin the inning. Arenado worked the count full before connecting for his 24th home run, driving it over the right-center fence into the Mets’ bullpen.
New York evened the score with an unearned run in the seventh when pinch-hitter Jose Reyes reached on a strikeout and passed ball and later scored on Cabrera’s sacrifice fly.
The Rockies struggled to get their offense going early against Matz, who pitched into the sixth and allowed three runs on six hits. They went without a hit until Trevor Story beat out an infield single with one out in the fifth.
The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the first when Jeff Hoffman walked leadoff man Michael Conforto, and Yoenis Cespedes doubled to drive him home.
Bruce added an RBI double in the sixth.
Hoffman went six innings and allowed two runs on five hits.
Mets: Reyes, hit on his left arm by a pitch Sunday in Seattle, was feeling much better after resting on the Mets’ off day Monday. Reyes is expected to see additional time at third base and second base following Rosario’s arrival from Triple-A.
Rockies: The Colorado debut of catcher Jonathan Lucroy, acquired Sunday in a trade with the Texas Rangers, was put on hold. He was scratched from the lineup because of a stomach illness. … LHP Jake McGee, on the 10-day disabled list because of a mid-back strain, had a clean MRI. He’s slated to play catch Wednesday and is hopeful he’ll be able to return when he’s eligible to be reinstated late next week.
Mets: RHP Chris Flexen (0-1, 9.00 ERA) is set to make his second career start after going three innings and giving up four runs while taking the loss in his big league debut last Thursday at San Diego.
Rockies: RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-11, 4.78) has enjoyed success in previous outings against New York, going 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA in six career starts vs. the Mets.