April 27, 2012: Hairston Hits for the Cycle

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Date: April 27, 2012
Mets starter: Chris Schwinden
Mets: 9
Rockies: 18
Winning pitcher: Matt Reynolds
Key player(s): Scott Hairston, Carlos Gonzalez
Key play: Rockies’ 11-run 5th inning

The Mets faced the Rockies on a Friday night at Denver’s Coors Field. Scott Hairston became the tenth player in Mets history to hit for the cycle. Despite Hairston’s accomplishment, the Mets still came out with an 18-9 loss to Colorado.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled and moved to second base on center fielder Dexter Fowler’s error to begin the top of the first inning. Ruben Tejada grounded out to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to send Nieuwenhuis to third. Rockies’ starter Drew Pomeranz struck out Daniel Murphy and issued a walk to David Wright. On a pickoff attempt with Hairston at bat, Nieuwenhuis scored and Wright was tagged out by second baseman Marco Scutaro to end the inning.

Scutaro hit a triple to right field to begin the bottom of the first. Jonathan Herrera was retired on a ground ball to shortstop Tejada. Carlos Gonzalez grounded out to first baseman Zach Lutz to drive home Scutaro. Tulowitzki followed with a home run for a 2-1 Colorado lead. Todd Helton tripled to right field. Mets’ starter Chris Schwinden then got Michael Cuddyer on an inning-ending ground ball to third baseman Wright.

Hairston singled to open the top of the second inning. Pomeranz set down the next three Mets batters and singled with two outs in the bottom half. Schwinden retired Scutaro on a grounder to Tejada for the third out and Nieuwenhuis drew a one-out walk in the top of the third. Tejada singled to move Nieuwenhuis to third base and Murphy flied out to left fielder Gonzalez. Pomeranz got Wright to ground out to Scutaro and end the inning. Schwinden then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Leading off the top of the fourth, Hairston homered to tie the game. Lucas Duda was hit by a pitch and Lutz went down on strikes. Pomeranz walked Mike Nickeas and caught a popped-up bunt by Schwinden. An ensuing wild pitch advanced Duda to third base and Nickeas to second. Pomeranz retired Nieuwenhuis on an inning-ending fly ball to Gonzalez. Schwinden then set down the Rockies 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Tejada singled against Colorado reliever Esmil Rogers to open the top of the fifth inning. Rogers followed up with strikeouts of Murphy and Wright. Hairston hit a triple to drive home Tejada and put the Mets ahead by a run. Duda singled to score Hairston and advanced to second base on a single by Lutz. Nickeas hit a single to plate Duda and send Lutz to second. Schwinden followed with a single to score Lutz and stretch the Mets’ lead to 6-2. Rogers then fanned Nieuwenhuis to close out the inning.

Pinch-hitter Eric Young reached on Schwinden’s throwing error to begin the bottom of the fifth. With Scutaro at the plate, Young stole second base and moved to third on an error by catcher Nickeas. Scutaro drew a walk and Herrera singled to drive home Young. A three-run homer by Gonzalez tied the game. Schwinden was then replaced on the mound by Manny Acosta.

Tulowitzki and Helton greeted Acosta with back-to-back singles. Cuddyer drew a walk to load the bases. Ramon Hernandez hit a force play grounder to Tejada on which Tulowitzki scored the go-ahead run. Fowler hit a three-run homer to extend the Rockies’ lead to 10-6. Young (batting for the second time in the inning) drew a walk and a single by Scutaro ensued. Acosta hit Herrera with a pitch to load the bases once again. Gonzalez singled to drive home Young and Scutaro. On the play, an error by first baseman Lutz allowed Herrera to score the Rockies’ eleventh run of the inning. Mets’ reliever Miguel Batista then retired Tulowitzki on a fly ball to center fielder Nieuwenhuis and got Helton on a grounder to Lutz for the third out.

Tejada led off the top of the sixth with a single against Colorado reliever Josh Roenicke. Murphy flied out to Fowler and a walk to Wright followed. Hairston completed the cycle with a double that scored Tejada and Wright, cutting the Rockies’ lead to 13-8. Duda singled to drive home Hairston with the Mets’ ninth run. Lutz flied out to right fielder Cuddyer and pinch-hitter Josh Thole singled against the Rockies’ Matt Reynolds. As a pinch-hitter for Batista, Justin Turner hit an inning-ending force play grounder to third baseman Herrera. Mets’ reliever Ramon Ramirez then shut down the Mountain Men in the bottom half.

Reynolds and Colorado reliever Matt Belisle combined to pitch a scoreless top of the seventh inning. Scutaro singled to open the bottom half. Herrera reached on interference by catcher Thole and a strikeout of Gonzalez ensued. Tulowitzki fouled out to Lutz and a single by Helton scored Scutaro. Ramirez walked Cuddyer to load the bases and Bobby Parnell came in to pitch for the Mets. Hernandez greeted Parnell with a grand slam to increase the Rockies’ lead to nine runs. Fowler followed with a single and advanced to second base on an error (the Mets’ sixth of the game) by second baseman Murphy. Parnell then retired Belisle on an inning-ending round ball to Tejada.

Belisle set down the Mets in order in the top of the eighth inning. Parnell and Mets’ reliever Tim Byrdak combined for a scoreless bottom half. Colorado’s Rex Brothers struck out Mike Baxter to begin the top of the ninth. Nieuwenhuis grounded out to Scutaro. Brothers then threw a called third strike past Tejada to end the game. The Mets had gone down to defeat as Hairston’s cycle was not nearly enough.