NEW YORK (AP) – Ian Desmond’s home runs helped more than the Colorado Rockies. They also benefited a cause that means a lot to him.
Desmond hit a pair of solo homers, including a tiebreaking drive in the eighth inning that sent the Rockies over the sagging New York Mets 3-2 Sunday for their season-high fifth straight win.
In 2012 as a member of the Washington Nationals, Desmond met Ethan Brown, who as a 16-year-old was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to develop on nerve tissue.
Since then, the 32-year-old veteran has kept a close relationship with Brown and has been involved in different ways to create awareness of the condition, partnering with the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
“May is Neurofibromatosis Month and it’s something that I care a lot about,” Desmond said. “My family and I have made donations of $1,000 per run and this year we (added) RBI, so today was an expensive day but going to a good cause.”
The Mets finished an 0-6 homestand, getting swept by Atlanta and Colorado, in which they were outscored 34-11 and shut out three times.
It’s the first time New York has lost all six games of a homestand of six or more contests since dropping all six in September 2012 against Washington and Atlanta.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise, I don’t think I’m concerned, it’s just part of the game,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.
Desmond homered off Noah Syndergaard’s 98 mph fastball in the second. He hit his sixth homer with two outs in the eighth off Hansel Robles (2-1). Robles was called up from Triple-A on Saturday when former Mets ace Matt Harvey was designated for assignment.
“I think with Ian you got to look at the real big picture, where this has led based on what he has done in the past,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “But those were two big swings to get us going. When they jumped out 2-0, that home run off Syndergaard, now that gave us some life like, ‘Hey, we took him deep.'”
Black was equally impressed with Kyle Freeland’s outing, in which the lefty gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings. He struck out eight, walked one and retired 21 of the last 23 batters he faced.
Freeland (2-4) had his third straight quality start. The Rockies have thrown a team record-tying eight in a row.
This came all on the heels of what Freeland described as a bullpen session that “didn’t go good” before his ineffective first inning. A mid-inning chat with his batterymate Tony Wolters eased the rest of his day.
“We kind of got on the same page on what we were going do because there were a few sequences in there that we kind of didn’t agree upon in the first inning where I was shaking him,” Freeland said.
Adam Ottavino walked Wilmer Flores and gave up a hit to Adrian Gonzalez in the ninth before striking out pinch-hitter Tomas Nido for his first save.
Syndergaard allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, walking four and striking out five. He is 0-2 in his last five starts.
The 25-year-old righty has not won a start since April 9 at Miami and is tied for the NL lead with five no-decisions.
“We’re struggling a little bit right now, but we can go on a run tomorrow just like we did to start the season,” Syndergaard said.
After a 11-1 start, the Mets have now lost 14 of 20 and can’t afford to have slugger Yoenis Cespedes out for an extended time. He left the game after the first inning for what the team originally said was right hip tightness.
Cespedes singled in his only at-bat and then raced from first to third before scoring the Mets’ second run. He clarified the situation after the game, saying he felt some discomfort in his right quad while trying to beat out a double play on Saturday night.
Cespedes missed two weeks during the 2016 season due to strained right quadriceps muscle.
“This one hasn’t been like in years past,” Cespedes said in Spanish. “I just wanted to take a little more precaution. I took myself out before something severe could happen.”
The Rockies scored in the third on consecutive hits by Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl and walks to Nolan Arenado and Gerardo Parra.
The Mets took a 2-0 in the first on an RBI single from Asdrubal Cabrera and Todd Frazier’s sacrifice fly.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom was put on the 10-day disabled list as a precaution after hyperextending his right elbow last Wednesday. The move is retroactive to May 3. … LHP P.J. Conlon was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Rockies starters last had eight consecutive quality starts in June 2009.
“We’re feeding off each other big time,” Freeland said. “It’s like every single day someone is trying to one-up the next guy from the night before, and that’s going to create a lot of very good winning atmosphere and it’s going to generate a lot of wins.”
Rockies: Jon Gray (3-4, 4.99 ERA) opens up a two-game interleague series at home on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels.
Mets: Conlon will be making his big league debut Monday at Cincinnati. Conlon was 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in five Triple-A starts this season.
By ADRY TORRES
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