Mets' Francisco Alvarez reacts after hitting a three-run home run...

Mets' Francisco Alvarez reacts after hitting a three-run home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Jake Bird in the sixth inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 27, 2023, in Denver.  Credit: AP/David Zalubowski

DENVER — In the Mets’ 10-7 loss to the Rockies, a blowout loss-turned-heartbreaker Saturday night, the defining moments featured them stopping and staring at long, dramatic home runs.

First came Francisco Alvarez’s three-run shot in the top of the sixth, the highlight of a five-run frame that finished erasing what had been an early 6-0 hole dug by ace Justin Verlander. Colorado reliever Jake Bird, freshly inserted into a jam, left a curveball over the heart of the plate. As it soared 435 feet to leftfield to tie the score, Alvarez watched, walked halfway down the first-base line and thumped his chest before beginning his jog around the bases.

An inning later, after the Mets had snuck ahead by a run on Starling Marte’s RBI single, Ryan McMahon punished a slider from Jeff Brigham, who began the season in the minors but has earned his way into Buck Showalter’s bullpen circle of trust. This, too, was a no-doubter, a 439-foot two-run shot into the second deck in rightfield. The standing-still observer: Marte, who barely took a step as he turned and watched, his glove hand on his hip.

That sequence changed the tenor of the loss. Had the vibe of the early innings continued, it would have been an ugly game for the Mets (27-26), certainly, but it would have been just one game nonetheless. It would have been so bad that it would barely matter, easy to simply move on to the next day.

But to rally and lead? And then blow it? For a third loss in five games to the Rockies (23-30) this month?

The Mets tried to put on their happy faces afterward.

“Games like this give guys a better attitude,” Verlander said. “It shows the grit of this team. You can’t win them all; this is obviously tough. But to come fighting back shows the character of this team.”


Alvarez said through an interpreter: “After we took the lead, the emotions were high, super-high. Even when we went back down, the emotions and the momentum still felt high. We felt we could win the game. But it just turned out that we came up a little short.”

Showalter went to Brigham for the seventh because he preferred not to use high-leverage options Adam Ottavino and Brooks Raley because of their recent workloads. Brigham entered with a 2.76 ERA and three holds.

“I felt like I threw my best pitch in a decent spot and I thought McMahon put a good swing on it,” he said. “I’m not going to chalk it up to Coors Field. I’m just bummed that the guys fought back and got us a lead and I gave it right back.”

Rockies manager Bud Black said: “You keep playing, right? You saw the Mets turn the tables on us and then we turned the tables back on them . . . That was a game a lot of us have seen here. You’ve just got to hang in there, which we did.”

The Mets scored one run in five innings against Chase Anderson, a 35-year-old righthander who has spent time with six organizations in the past two years. Pete Alonso hit his majors-leading 20th home run.

Verlander’s second dud in three starts: six runs and nine hits in five innings. He struck out two — his fewest in a game since 2018 — and walked one.

The Rockies struck for five runs in the second inning. Verlander retired the first four batters to begin the game, but the next six reached base, initially on softer-hit balls that happened to elude Mets fielders and then on harder contact.

Showalter blamed it on the Coors Field effect negatively impacting the movement of Verlander’s pitches. Verlander declined to use the same excuse.

“I didn’t make some pitches when I could’ve, particularly a couple sliders that stayed closer to the zone than I would’ve liked,” he said. “Look, I appreciate [Showalter] saying that, but for me, it was more than just that. I didn’t quite execute.”

Both were glad, though, that he lasted as long as he did.

“That’s a really good testament to Justin, to be able to give us those innings,” Showalter said. “It didn’t look like it was going to happen early on.”

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