DENVER -- Subbing for Matt Harvey, Logan Verrett held the Rockies to one run and four hits in eight innings in his first Major League start, as the National League East-leading Mets won, 5-1, at Coors Field on Sunday. By taking advantage of a memorably scattershot performance by Rockies starter David Hale, New York completed a three-game sweep and maintained a five-game lead over the Nationals.
The lone run off Verrett, who has made 12 total appearances and has given up one run in the last 18 2/3 innings, was Carlos Gonzalez's home run to dead center to lead off the fourth, which Statcast™ projected to land 459 feet away.
"It didn't matter if it was here or New York or wherever, but this is a tough place to pitch," Verrett (1-1) said. "It's a pretty good feeling to be out there and be able to give your team eight innings, save your bullpen and get the win."
Hale's wildness -- which he said was the result of mechanical changes since his last start -- was a key reason the Rockies dropped to 49-73 to possess the Majors' worst record. Hale (3-5) went six innings, gave up five runs, struck out a career-high-tying nine but chucked a Rockies record four wild pitches. It was the 10th time since 1914 that a pitcher has fanned at least nine and thrown at least four wild pitches in the same contest.
Key Mets hits were Daniel Murphy's RBI double in the first and Anthony Recker's RBI double in the third, but much of the offensive success came from watching Hale implode. In addition to the wild pitches, he hit a batter and walked two.
Gonzalez, who tied Nolan Arenado for the club's home run lead with 30, called for professionalism from his club.
"We're all professional players; we can't just quit," Gonzalez said. "We've got to go out there and compete every day. Whoever doesn't want to go out there and compete, they can just tell the manager and I'm sure they will send them to the Minor Leagues or home."
The Rockies have dropped 11 of their last 13, and are 10-24 since the All-Star break. Manager Walt Weiss, who throughout the season has complimented the team's resiliency, said the energy wasn't there on the final day of a 2-7 homestand.
"Today I felt like our energy was pretty low," Weiss said. "I think it's the result of 10 days at home, playing in some really long games and being on the losing end of those long games. I think we were on fumes today. But the guys haven't checked out whatsoever. I think they're battling -- we showed that over the course of the homestand."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Once more, with feeling: Hale's outing disintegrated in the third with three wild pitches, but -- like so much else about his performance -- at least two of the dirtballs were noteworthy. When his wild pitches with Recker batting allowed Wilmer Flores and then Michael Conforto to score, it marked the first time since April 30, 2013, that a pitcher threw two consecutive run-scoring wild pitches to the same batter (the White Sox's Nate Jones against the Rangers' Adrian Beltre). More >
On April 17, 2014, the Blue Jays' Sergio Santos threw two run-scoring wild pitches with the Twins' Kurt Suzuki batting, but the pitches weren't consecutive.
Super sub: Starting in place of Harvey, whom the Mets skipped due to workload concerns, Verrett did his best Harvey impression with eight innings of one-run ball. Verrett's only mistake came on a changeup that Gonzalez knocked out of the park to lead off the fourth. Outside of that, he was brilliant, striking out eight batters and allowing four hits and a walk en route to his first Major League win. More >
Why? Wild as Hale's performance was, a 5-1 deficit in the bottom of the sixth can be overcome at Coors. But when Arenado singled to Conforto in left field with two outs, Charlie Blackmon inexplicably tried to go first-to-third and didn't come close to making it.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Rockies got a grand total of 9 2/3 innings from their starters in the three games with the Mets. Compared to Jon Gray's 1 2/3 innings Friday and Chris Rusin's two-plus innings Saturday, Hale's six looked better despite his early wildness.
ADDITION TO THE ROTATION
Righty Chad Bettis (5-4, 4.88 ERA) will join the Rockies' rotation as the sixth starter on Tuesday against the Braves at Turner Field. Bettis hasn't pitched in the Majors since July 18 because of right shoulder inflammation.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: David Wright will be in the starting lineup for the first time since April when the Mets open a four-game series Monday in Philadelphia at 7:05 p.m. ET. NL Cy Young Award candidate Jacob deGrom will start for the Mets opposite Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan.
Rockies: Rockies lefty Jorge De La Rosa (7-5, 4.50 ERA), who held the Nationals scoreless for six innings but didn't get the decision in his last start, will open a three-game set against the Braves and righty Julio Teheran (8-6, 4.32 ERA) on Monday at Turner Field at 5:10 p.m. MT.