Marlon Byrd's home run makes Mets' one-day visit to Colorado a success
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DENVER - The Mets dragged their road-weary bodies into Coors Field Thursday afternoon for a makeup game against the Rockies after a late night that included a delayed flight from Chicago and a 3 a.m. arrival.
The last time they were in Denver -- in April -- the Mets were greeted by snow and freezing temperatures. Thursday's game was both teams' penance for not playing in a snowstorm on April 17.
It was 95 degrees at game time. The Rockies also were tired, having played Wednesday night in Boston, but at least they were home. The Mets were on the last stop of a four-city, 11-game road trip.
With David Wright getting a day off, the Mets turned to Marlon Byrd. His two-run home run in the eighth inning sparked the Mets to a 3-2 comeback win and ended their sojourn with a stellar 7-4 record.
"It was a real good day to play baseball," Byrd said. "To win was even better."
Said manager Terry Collins: "It's a huge pickup for us. A big step for us. When you can win a game without David Wright in your lineup, that's huge for us. That's enormous. That means someone else had to really step up and do a job."
That someone was Byrd.
The Mets trailed 2-1 entering the eighth when Daniel Murphy singled to center against reliever Matt Belisle (4-5).
As a faint "Let's Go Mets" chant started up from deep leftfield, Byrd crushed the seventh pitch of the at-bat -- a 2-and-2 fastball -- into the stands in left-center for his 12th home run of the season.
"He still had a split-fingered [fastball] that he could have thrown at any time," said Byrd, who also threw out a runner at second in the ninth. "If he executes that pitch down-and-away, I don't know what happens. But it was just one of those things where a ball came back over the plate."
LaTroy Hawkins (3-1) was the winner in relief of Jeremy Hefner, who went six innings. Scott Rice struck out Carlos Gonzalez with the tying run on second to end the eighth and Bobby Parnell struck out one in the ninth in gaining his 14th save.
Parnell got help from Byrd, who threw out Michael Cuddyer trying to stretch a single into a double leading off the ninth.
Collins said Byrd is the only outfielder on his team who practices throwing to bases during batting practice at home. It paid off.
"I do it every single day at home," Byrd said. "Try and get some throws in just so I can make sure it's there."
Hefner was charged with two runs (one earned). He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out three. He has a 1.80 ERA in June, but he's just 1-1. Overall, his ERA is 3.72.
Nine of the 14 runs Hefner has allowed in his last four starts have been unearned, including the Rockies' second run.
Cuddyer singled leading off the second and moved to third on a double by Willin Rosario. Todd Helton's sacrifice fly to center made it 1-0.
Nolan Arenado hit a grounder to third and Zach Lutz, starting in place of Wright, didn't look Rosario back to second before throwing to first for the out. So Rosario took off after the ball left Lutz's hand and scored on first baseman Josh Satin's throwing error on the play.
The Mets were no-hit for the first four innings by righthander Tyler Chatwood but scored in the fifth on Hefner's RBI groundout and rallied in the eighth.
"To come in here and get a win in a close game like today," Collins said, "I'm pretty proud of the way the guys played."