DENVER - The one-word answer from Yoenis Cespedes told the story.
Standing at his locker late Friday night after a five-hit, seven-RBI, three-homer barrage that pulverized the Rockies in the Mets' 14-9 victory at -- where else? -- Coors Field, Cespedes was asked if that was his best night ever at the plate.
Smiling, Cespedes replied, "Si."
There was no need for translation. To see what Cespedes did nearly a mile above sea level was to witness history. The seven RBIs were two short of Carlos Delgado's 2008 team record, and Cespedes joined Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Lucas Duda as the third Met to hit three homers this season -- the first time it's been done for the Mets. Gary Carter and Darryl Strawberry each did it in 1985.
Cespedes also had a career-high five hits -- and nearly had a sixth before Carlos Gonzalez snagged his ninth-inning liner in the rightfield gap, to give him 14 total bases, which is the second-most in Mets history behind Edgardo Alfonso's 16 in 1999.
"I haven't seen anything like that," Terry Collins said. "He's a special talent. I just can't wait to see what he's going to do tomorrow."
The Mets needed every bit of it with Bartolo Colon being forced from the game in the fourth inning because of a badly bruised forearm -- and after flushing a 7-1 lead, which Cespedes helped build with a second-inning grand slam.
All of this happened only a few hours after Collins announced that Matt Harvey would indeed be skipped Sunday, with Logan Verrett to make the start.
So it wasn't shaping up to be a feel-good opener for this three-game series against the lowly Rockies. Until Cespedes helped change the gloomy narrative with the career-high three homers, including a two-run shot that snapped an 8-8 tie in the sixth inning to put the Mets ahead for good.
"It was a Coors Field game," Collins said. "You never felt comfortable, no matter what the score was. I'm really proud of them."
The Mets have won nine straight over the Rockies, and increased their lead to five games in the NL East, thanks to the Nats' 10-3 loss to the Brewers.
The Mets lost Colon, but they refused to roll over after the Rockies erased their 7-1 lead. In addition to Cespedes' homer hat trick, Travis d'Arnaud and Michael Conforto hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning to give the Mets a 12-8 lead. With the Mets now in desperate need of bullpen help, it's possible that Conforto could be sent down to make room for reliever Dario Alvarez, who will be activated for Saturday's game.
The bizarre win probably made the Mets feel a little better about their decision to skip Harvey, which the team has been skittish about all season.
"We've looked at it every which way we could," Collins said before the game. "If we're going to do it, let's do it right now. Let's get it over with."
Harvey seemed to feel the same way.
He's supposed to be capped at roughly 190 innings for the regular season, but he's already up to 154 through 23 starts. As badly as Harvey wants to take the ball, he can't argue with the numbers, even if there is insufficient data as to how much the innings limit will prevent a further injury in returning from Tommy John surgery.
"I think the last thing you want to do is keeping putting it off or waiting to hear when it's going to happen," Harvey said. "I told them I was completely on board with whatever they wanted to do."