NEW YORK (AP) – The Colorado Rockies got a nice performance from a spot starter and a timely home run from a pinch hitter.
Thanks to a player they traded away earlier this season, it wasn’t enough.
Eric Young Jr. made a diving catch to take a go-ahead hit away from Todd Helton in the sixth inning, then raced home with the tiebreaking run in the eighth, and the New York Mets beat the Colorado Rockies 3-2 on Tuesday night.
“He’s got game-changing speed, and it got them a win tonight,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
The Rockies have lost 12 of 18 since the All-Star break and have scored five runs in their last three games.
Chad Bettis, who made the start while Tyler Chatwood got pushed back a few days to let his tweaked hamstring rest, allowed two runs and four hits in five innings. Bettis was making his second big league start. He said he felt calmer than he did in his debut, Aug. 1 against Atlanta.
“Definitely felt like it was back to normal,” Bettis said. “I was able to see a lot more hitters’ responses to certain pitches, stuff like that. So yeah, I think it’s getting there.”
Bettis gave up a two-out, two-run triple to Juan Lagares in the first inning, then retired 12 of his next 14 batters to make a case that he can compete for a spot in the Rockies rotation this season or next.
“There’s always been a lot of talk about whether (I’m) a late-relief guy or a starter. Personally, I would like to start, but all in all it’s what I can do to help this team win.”
LaTroy Hawkins gave up a pair of two-out singles in the ninth before Ike Davis made a diving catch on pinch-hitter Yorvit Torrealba’s sinking liner foul down the first base line. It was Hawkins’ first save since May 6, 2012, for the Angels.
Scott Atchison (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
Eric Young led off the eighth with a single against Wilton Lopez (1-4). He was able to take second on Marlon Byrd’s deep fly, putting him in position to make it home on Juan Lagares’ infield single, a slow chopper to second base, that he just barely beat out.
Young sped up as he rounded third and beat the throw home. Lagares also hit a two-run triple in the first inning.
Mets starter Jenrry Mejia tied a season high with seven strikeouts, but left after 5 1-3 innings. He allowed a tying solo homer to pinch-hitter Chris Blackmon to lead off the sixth and nearly gave up the lead, too, after a long pause in the game when plate ump Manny Gonzalez was injured.
The umpire appeared to be hit in the jaw after a pitch from Mejia bounced up and hit him in the throat. Gonzalez was escorted off under his own power, but second base umpire Larry Vanover had to go change into protective gear to assume duties behind the plate.
Mejia only got one out after the interlude, though third baseman Wilmer Flores committed an error on a tough hop off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer walked. Carlos Torres came on with the bases loaded and retired Wilin Rosario on a pop fly to center too shallow to score a run before Young made his diving grab on Helton’s liner.
Flores was making his big league debut. He mostly played shortstop in the Mets system, but filled in at third because David Wright was hurt last weekend.
Lagares hit a two-out, two-run triple in the first inning to put the Mets up. Bettis settled down after that, and the Rockies got a run back for him in the fifth, when Rosario hit a leadoff single and scored on a sacrifice fly. Davis lifted his glove over Helton’s grounder to first base for an error, allowing Rosario to take third with nobody out. After he scored, D.J. LeMahieu hit into an inning-ending double play, and Bettis settled down.
“Other than (the triple), I thought he threw the ball really well,” Weiss said.
NOTES: Mets RHP Matt Harvey (8-3) is expected to face Rockies RHP Jhoulys Chacin (10-5) in Wednesday’s game. … Rockies OF Corey Dickerson has hit safely in six straight games. … Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez, who has aggravated a finger injury, was unavailable as a pinch-hitter, Weiss said. … The Rockies’ eight-game winning streak at Citi Field came to an end.
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