DENVER — Max Scherzer accomplished a lot in his Hall of Fame-worthy 16-year 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, propelling the Mets to a 5-2 win in Game 1 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 victory – his first in Colorado in six tries.
Scherzer allowed just one earned run on six hits and struck out eight. He had 19 swings and misses and didn’t allow a walk, which was also the best mark of the season.
After a slow start to the season, a suspension and a few nagging injuries, Scherzer has allowed just two earned runs in his last three starts. He looks much more like his old self.
Ryan McMahon started 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 made No. 9 hitter Ezequiel Tovar appear until the end of the inning.
The Mets’ top executives led them to victory. Brandon Nimmo, who grew up coming to Rockies games while growing up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, hit two hat-tricks 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 RBIs and a two-run home run and Brett Baty went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Nimmo took a full slider from Brad Hand and drove him into center field for a stand-up triple in the ninth, allowing him to score easily on a fly ball from Lindor. He’s not quite a hometown kid, but he’s something like that and it shows in the way he punches in his childhood stage.
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 against right-hander Connor Seabold (1-2) to give a Mets lead 2-0. Leading 2-1 in the fifth, Nimmo tripled with one out and Lindor needed only a low blow to send him home.
Jeff McNeil then hit an error for the second time in the game when Alan Trejo failed to throw a wild pitch from third baseman Ryan McMahon. Baty went the other way with a left single to score Lindor and make it 4-1.
Round five made up for their inability to drive runners and capitalize on Colorado’s mistakes in round three. A slapped batter, a walk and another error charged the bases with no outs, but Pete Alonso and Baty retired the bases to end the inning.
Charlie Blackmon pushed David Robertson deep to start the eighth inning and give Colorado hope (22-30). But the Mets had a turbulent start to the ninth and Adam Ottavino converted his fifth save to secure their seventh victory in their last 10 games.
That was almost exactly how the Mets envisioned winning games when the start of this season-long roller coaster began.