Gomber pitches Rockies past Mets 3-2 for team’s 3rd road win

Sports

Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Austin Gomber (26) winds up during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Monday, May 24, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Colorado Rockies wanted to make sure they didn’t fall flat again when they got back to sea level.

Having started 2-17 on the road and 16-12 in the thin air at mile-high Coors Field, they started batting practice more than five hours before Monday night’s game at Citi Field — elevation 13 feet.

Ryan McMahon and Elias Díaz responded with second-inning solo home runs off David Peterson, Austin Gomber pitched two-hit ball through eight innings and the Rockies provided one of their better road shows, beating the banged-up New York Mets 3-2.

“We got a machine out there. We spun breaking balls. We threw four-seam fastballs, hard sliders, hard curveballs to have the guys see spin early, just get the background of Citi Field,” manager Bud Black said, “and conversation really about mentally going from Denver to New York — or Denver to anywhere.”

Colorado was coming off a weekend three-game sweep of Arizona, but the Rockies’ road record was the worst for any team at a season’s start since the 2006 Kansas City Royals. Colorado was on track to break the record-low .167 road winning percentage of the 1935 Boston Braves at 13-65. The Rockies had been 0-4 on the road against left-handed starters.

Road stats included major league lows of a .208 batting average, 58 runs and 11 homers, down from .267 with 165 runs and 37 homers at Coors.

“The guys I think showed some incremental toughness through our conversations and hopefully things will improve offensively on the road,” Black said.

Colorado went 5 for 27 with two homers against the Mets, and Garrett Hampson boosted the lead to 3-0 with an RBI triple in the fourth that sent rookie Johneshwy Fargas crashing into the outfield wall in an unsuccessful attempt to make the catch.

A 27-year-old left-hander who was among five players obtained from St. Louis in the Feb. 1 trade that sent star third baseman Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals, Gomber (3-4) struck out a career-high eight and walked none, throwing 28 changeups among 103 pitches.

Gomber gave up Jonathan Villar’s single leading off the fourth and James McCann’s two-out homer in the seventh. Pitching past the seventh inning for the first time, he allowed pinch-hitter Brandon Drury’s first Mets home run leading off the ninth and Patrick Mazeika’s single.

Gomber started a trip opener for the fourth time following two losses in San Francisco and one in St. Louis.

“I haven’t gotten us off to a good start,” he said. “Things are starting to move in the right direction, just keep that going, get us off to a good start, so hopefully we can carry that momentum the rest of the trip.”

Carlos Estévez got three straight outs for his second save, with closer Brad Hand unavailable after throwing 27 pitches Sunday.

Fargas, the Mets’ fourth-string center fielder after injuries to Brandon Nimmo, Kevin Pillar and Albert Almora Jr., sprained the AC joint in his left shoulder and was sent for tests.

“It’s challenging, man. These things keep happening,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “We react in the moment, saying, like, oh, not again.”

New York lost its third straight and was so short of players Rojas said pitchers were told to get ready to play the field if the game reached extra innings. NL East-leading New York already had a major league-high 16 players on the injured list and said right-hander Jordan Yamamoto was set to be added on Tuesday.

“Anybody want to suit up?” Mets owner Steve Cohen tweeted in the seventh inning.

McCann played first base for the first time in 994 professional games, and the longtime catcher’s first play was a nose-first dive into the infield dirt for a backhand snare on Josh Fuentes’ hard three-hopper in the second inning. The bill of his cap bent, McCann got to his knees and threw to Peterson covering first, just in time for the out. McCann had not played first since his junior year in college for Arkansas, at Memphis on March 23, 2011.

“I joked with some of the guys and said I haven’t felt these kind of jitters in a while,” McCann said.

Francisco Lindor went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and a double-play grounder and was repeatedly booed by the crowd of 8,438 at Citi Field. The four-time All-Star is hitting .189 in his first season with the Mets.

Cameron Maybin, who moved from right field to take over from Fargas in center, went 0 for 3 and is 0 for 19 this year — seven hitless at-bats short of the Mets’ franchise-worst start by Charley Smith in 1964.

Peterson (1-4) gave up both home runs on poor sliders and dropped to 0-3 in seven starts since beating Philadelphia on April 14. He permitted three runs and five hits in six innings.

“For us,” Peterson said, “it’s next man up.”

MOVES

Colorado claimed INF Rio Ruiz off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles and designated INF/OF Bret Boswell for assignment.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: 3B J.D. Davis (sprained left hand) will likely play at least three more rehab games, including one at first base, before returning. … 1B Pete Alonso (sprained right hand) was to swing with two hands Monday and also will have at least one rehab appearance before returning, possibly next week.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (3-2, 0.68 ERA) makes his first start since May 9 following a bout with right side tightness that sent him to the injured list. LHP Kyle Freeland is set to make his season debut for the Rockies after recovering from a strained pitching shoulder that had sidelined him since his spring training start on March 23.

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