The Mets started their six-game road trip on the wrong foot Monday at Coors Field in Denver, where they dropped the opener of a three-game series with their 9-4 loss to the Rockies (66-85). >> Box score
Five Takeaways from Monday's game
1) The Mets provided the run support early, highlighted by home runs from CF Brandon Nimmo and 3B Jeff McNeil in the first half of the game. Nimmo set the tone in the top of the first inning, going with an opposite-field solo shot to left and putting the Mets on the board. Two frames later in the top of the third inning, McNeil hit his 21st homer on the season when he ripped a deep fly ball down the right-field line, sneaking inside the foul pole and putting the Mets ahead 3-1.
2) Up two runs, the Mets' lead allowed 1B Pete Alonso to relax in the top of the fourth inning and break an 0-for-21 skid that started with an 0-for-4 night in last Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. With one out, Alonso calmly approached an 0-1 count and sent a single back up the middle to get on base. Two batters later, the Mets capitalized on SS Amed Rosario's line-drive double to left field with two outs, scoring Alonso from first and building the 4-1 lead. In the top of the sixth inning, Alonso's simplified approach was evident again on a leadoff double roped down the right-field line.
3) LHP Steven Matz (10-9, 4.16 ERA) initially recorded 3.0 solid innings as the Mets led 4-1, with the only casualty coming on Ian Desmond's line-drive home run to center field, but 40-plus pitches in the top of the fourth derailed the early progress. After Garrett Hampson's sacrifice fly to right field scored Charlie Blackmon and cut the Mets' 4-2 lead, RHP Antonio Senzatela (10-10, 6.83 ERA) helped his own cause. On a 1-2 count with two outs, Senzatela's first hit of the season came on a two-RBI single to left field, tying the game at 4-4. Then the Rockies broke the comeback open entirely when Trevor Story's three-run blast deep to left field -- also with two outs -- put the home team ahead 7-4.
4) After seven runs on six hits with four strikeouts to two walks, Matz exited early. At 84 pitches, Matz's fourth-inning implosion made manager Mickey Callaway put the ball in the hands of the Mets' bullpen for the final four frames. Initially, RHPs Walker Lockett and Jeurys Familia kept the deficit within striking distance with scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth. After LHP Luis Avilan got two outs in the seventh inning, RHP Paul Sewald entered but was unable to get the third out on Hampson's dribbler to the right side of the infield, digging out an infield RBI single and scoring Nolan Arenado to add another run. RHP Edwin Diaz failed to get out of the eighth inning unscathed, allowing Arenado's RBI double into right field and scoring Daniel Murphy as the Rockies polished off the 9-4 final.
5) With the defeat, the Mets have lost three of their past four games. They fell further back in the race for the second Wild Card after the Cubs' 8-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds and the Brewers' 5-1 victory against the San Diego Padres. As the clock ticks on the regular season with roughly two weeks left, Chicago (82-68, 2.0 GB in NL Central, 1.0 GA for second Wild Card) and Milwaukee (81-69, 3.0 GB in NL Central, 1.0 GB for second Wild Card) have started to distance the gap between the Mets (77-73, 16.0 GB in NL East, 5.0 GB for second Wild Card).
The Mets a their three-game series Tuesday with RHP Marcus Stroman (8-13, 3.35 ERA) taking the mound against RHP Tim Melville (2-2, 5.16 ERA) at 8:40 p.m. on SNY.