Drew Gagnon had just given up the second of two long home runs when he stuck a 1-and-1 pitch in Rockies centerfielder Ian Desmond’s back.
Desmond wasn’t pleased. Who would be?
It probably didn’t feel good and it definitely didn’t look good — the timing, that is.
After the Mets’ 5-1 loss to the Rockies on Friday night, cooler heads prevailed and both sides seemed to accept Gagnon’s story that the pitch wasn’t intentional, that it wasn’t a reaction to the two long home runs and that it shouldn’t have led to the benches clearing and bullpens emptying and Desmond almost getting into it with Jacob deGrom.
But in the moment in the eighth inning, the benches did clear and Desmond almost did get into it with deGrom over what deGrom later said was “just a misunderstanding.”
And while Mets manager Mickey Callaway said, “The story was we didn’t score runs for [deGrom],” the highlights will be about the two long homers and the pitch in the back and players from both teams facing off — twice — on different parts of the infield grass.
“Boys being boys,” Callaway said.
First, the game: DeGrom (3-6) gave up two runs in six innings and struck out 10 and was the loser because Colorado righthander Antonio Senzatela (5-4) and three relievers held the Mets to six hits.
It was 2-1 when deGrom left and then it was 5-1 after Gagnon gave up a two-run homer by David Dahl and a solo shot two batters later by former Met Daniel Murphy.
Both were really, really well struck. A few minutes later, so was Desmond, and that’s when the night’s real drama began.
Desmond yelled at Gagnon, who threw his hands up to indicate he didn’t mean to hit him. Desmond started toward first base, accompanied by plate umpire Chris Segal. Gagnon walked in and picked up the ball.
The benches and bullpens emptied and the players eventually milled on the third-base side of the mound before the scrum broke up.
It flared up again on the first-base side. That’s where deGrom came in.
“Honestly, I just looked at [Desmond] and I think he thought I said something,” deGrom said. “I have no problem with him. I think it was just a misunderstanding. Everybody kind of jumped in. I think it got a little more — it looked worse than it was. He just said, ‘Did you say something?’ I honestly didn’t say anything.”
Gagnon was not ejected, but he was booed fiercely by the hometown crowd when he was removed one batter later.
The righthander denied he was throwing at Desmond.
“I see where they’re coming from, but I wasn’t throwing strikes all day,” he said. “The ball slipped. Two-seamer. Complete accident.”
The umpires concluded the same, and that’s why no one was ejected. Both benches were warned, however.
“My plate umpire, Chris Segal, he didn’t feel it was intentional,” crew chief Mike Winters told a pool reporter. “We didn’t feel it was intentional from the bases. Bad situation to be hit there, but we didn’t think it was intentional.”
Said Todd Frazier: “If I’m a batter, I’m upset, too. That’s just baseball. But Drew definitely didn’t do anything purposeful and they got excited. Their bench got excited and they came out hot.”
No one was hotter than Murphy, who hopped over the dugout railing and raced onto the field before he eventually was escorted off by Dominic Smith (who said Murphy was a mentor when Smith was a minor-leaguer in the Mets’ system).
“I don’t think it was a great look,” Murphy told reporters, adding that he trusts the Mets personnel who told him the pitch wasn’t on purpose.
Still, the Mets won’t be shocked if one of their hitters goes down during the final two games of the series.
“You’re always a little concerned about that,” Callaway said. “Obviously, Gagnon wasn’t hitting anybody on purpose . . . Hopefully they’ll realize that.”
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