Max Scherzer makes statement with throwback gem in Mets’ win over Rockies
DENVER — Max Scherzer joined the Mile High Club on Friday.
Of Scherzer’s 204 career victories before throwing his first pitch on this night, none had occurred at Coors Field. That changed after the Mets’ co-ace (yes, he can have that designation back) dominated with seven brilliant innings that led his team’s 5-2 victory over the Rockies.
The sample size is only three starts since he returned from the neck spasms that caused him to miss a start — he has also battled back discomfort throughout the season — but Scherzer appears to have regained the form he showed for most of last season, when he was among the NL’s top pitchers.
His strongest statement yet came over 102 pitches in the altitude.
Scherzer allowed one earned run on six hits with eight strikeouts over the seven innings and lowered his ERA to 3.54 — the lowest it has been at the completion of a start this season.
Scherzer has allowed one earned run or less in each of his past three starts.
The Mets (27-25) got the offense they needed early and then rode Scherzer’s and the bullpen’s coattails to win their second straight.
David Robertson, who hadn’t pitched since Sunday, allowed a homer to Charlie Blackmon, leading off the eighth before getting three outs.
Brooks Raley put two runners aboard in the ninth, prompting manager Buck Showalter to summon Adam Ottavino, who recorded the final two outs for the save.
Justin Verlander, the other half of the Mets’ dynamic duo, is scheduled to face the Rockies on Saturday.
Brandon Nimmo, in his return home (he grew up 1 ½ hours away in Cheyenne, Wyo.), was the offensive star.
Nimmo smashed two triples and reached base five times on a night the Mets managed only seven hits.
Francisco Lindor’s homer in the first inning gave the Mets a fast 2-0 lead against Connor Seabold.
After Nimmo walked leading off the game, Lindor launched a slider 439 feet over the fence in right-center for his eighth homer of the season.
It was his first since hitting a go-ahead homer Sunday in the second game of the Mets’ doubleheader sweep against the Guardians.
Ryan McMahon’s homer leading off the second pulled the Rockies within 2-1.
The blast was the first allowed by Scherzer in his last three starts.
McMahon’s shot traveled 430 feet and left the bat at 105 mph.
The Mets loaded the bases with one out in the third inning, but were left frustrated as Pete Alonso and Brett Baty struck out in succession to end the threat.
Seabold drilled Francisco Alvarez to begin the threat and Nimmo walked.
After Lindor was retired, Jeff McNeil hit a grounder to first base, on which Nolan Jones threw to second.
The throw hit Nimmo and McNeil reached first.
Nimmo’s triple in the fifth sparked a two-run inning that extended the Mets’ lead to 4-1.
Lindor knocked in Nimmo with a single for his third RBI of the night before sloppy Rockies defense contributed to a run.
McNeil hit a grounder to third that could have been an inning-ending double play, but Alan Trejo mishandled the throw for an error. Baty’s two-out single delivered an unearned run.
Scherzer retired 11 straight batters after allowing the homer to McMahon.
The streak was broken by Trejo’s two-out double in the fifth, but Scherzer struck out Ezequiel Tovar to keep the Mets’ three-run lead intact.
Nimmo drew a two-out walk in the sixth to reach base for the fourth time, but the Mets’ two-out rally — which started with Alvarez’s single — stalled as Lindor was retired with runners on first and second.
Nimmo tripled in the ninth and scored the Mets’ final run on Lindor’s long sacrifice fly to left field.