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The King of Clutch, Nolan Arenado, did it again.
The Rockies’ third baseman has set himself apart with his clutch play the last three years and has taken it to even higher levels in 2017. His latest exhibition of his most important talent; a four-RBI night culminating in a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth that gave the Colorado Rockies a 5-4 win over the New York Mets.
The Rockies tied the game with a small-ball rally in the bottom of the eighth. Mark Reynolds led off with a soft single over the shortstop and into left field. The Mets went to tough lefty Jeremy Blevins but Gerardo Parra fought off a tough pitch to loft another soft single to left. Trevor Story fell behind 0-2 but made an adjustment and put the ball in play on a grounder to the right of short. Parra was out at second but Reynolds moved to third which was important when Carlos Gonzalez came through with another put-the-ball-in-play-and-good-things-happen play, hitting a weak grounder to third that he beat out for an RBI single to tie the game.
That also extended Gonzalez’ hit streak to 10 games.
Jay Bruce gave the Mets the lead with his 28th home run of the season, a left-on-left blast off of Chris Rusin that struck the foul pole in right field. Rusin has been magnificent all season for the Rockies but he missed location on a 1-2 pitch and Bruce made him pay for it.
New York tied it up in the top of the seventh with a bit of good fortune. Newcomer Pat Neshek struck out Travis d’Arnaud and former Rockies Jose Reyes — who the crowd greeted with boos, presumably for the fact that Colorado is still paying him $22 million this season despiting cutting him after a domestic violence scandal. But Reyes reached first on his strikeout when catcher Ryan Hanigan dropped strike three, moved to third on a bloop single from Conforto, and scored the tying run on a sac fly from Asdrubal Cabrera. The run was unearned. As is most of Reyes’ $22 million.
Colorado went into the sixth inning having recorded only one hit but left it with the lead. Charlie Blackmon singled on a line drive to right and DJ LeMahieu pulled a double off the chalk in left. Third base coach Stu Cole wisely held Blackmon at third instead of forcing the issue down two but still with nobody out and the heart of the order coming up.
Nolan Arenado, who might as well be renamed “The Heart of the Order”, rewarded that faith by crushing his 24th home run of the season, a rare opposite field shot for him over the high fence in right-center field, to swing a 2-0 deficit to a 3-2 lead. Clutch.
The Mets extended their lead to 2-0 in the top of the sixth on a single from Yoenis Cespedes and a double from Jay Bruce just inside the first-base line. Hoffman bore down with the runner at second and nobody out, getting a fly out, a weak ground out to himself and a called strikeout to end his night.
His final line: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. He threw 61 of 101 pitches for strikes.
Colorado did not get their first hit against Matz until Trevor Story legged out an infield single in the fifth.
The very first batter of the game scored against Hoffman as Michael Conforto drew a walk and came all the way around the bases on a double in the left-center field gap from Yoenic Cespedes.