DENVER -- Down by four runs in the fifth inning, after hitting a weak grounder so routine most players would save their effort on the basepaths for their next at-bat, the Rockies' Eric Young ignited an eruption that turned into an 11-run frame during an 18-9 rout over the Mets.
Friday night's series opener featured a solo shot, a pair of three-run homers and a grand slam for the Rockies, but arguably the biggest at-bat came from Young, who pinch-hit to lead off the fifth, scored two runs in the inning and turned the tide for Colorado.
Young ran full speed for first on a comebacker, and Mets starter Chris Schwinden's throw to the bag was high and outside enough for Young to go in low, reaching safely under the attempted tag. Young then stole second and advanced to third on catcher Mike Nickeas' throwing error.
"Every time I hit the ball, I run hard," Young said. "Have you ever seen me not once run hard? It's the right way to play the game."
Though he's played primarily off the bench this season, Young has turned himself into a devastating weapon, capable of reaching base any time he hits the ball on the ground and wreaking havoc once he does get on base.
"I saw the first baseman starting to reach up and to his left," Young said of his changing course on the fly. "I knew to try and get as far away from him as I can. Getting down on the ground was the best way to do it. As soon as I saw him start going up, the first thing that clicked in my head was, 'Go down.' He never touched me. It would have been too hard. He's reaching high and to the left and he's trying to go all the way down to the ground."
The Rockies followed Young's hustle play with three walks, seven hits (including two three-run homers from Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler), and a hit batsman, along with four errors from the Mets, to score 11 runs, one shy of the Rockies' record for runs in an inning. Gonzalez set a club record with five RBIs in the inning, as the Rockies sent 15 men to the plate.
"You play enough games here, you know innings like that are going to possibly take place," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "It happened pretty fast."
And it happened as a result of Young's speed on a play that clearly energized his club, having just fallen four runs behind in the top of the inning.
"That's great that it happened like that," Young said. "Play hard and hopefully it rubs off. Right afterwards, everybody else started stretching out hits and going first to third. The aggressiveness seemed to heighten."
The rally salvaged a good effort by starter Drew Pomeranz, who pitched four innings and left the game with tightness in his left forearm. The game was tied when Pomeranz exited, but Esmil Rogers gave up four runs in one inning of relief, putting the Rockies behind, 6-2, heading into the breakout bottom of the fifth.
"I was kind of mad that my forearm tightened up on me," Pomeranz said. "I felt great out there. The changeup was good today. Everything was good today. I had a few walks in there, but I was making good pitches, and a lot of their hits were broken bats that found a hole somewhere. But I felt great."
Pomeranz first felt the stiffness during his warmups before the fourth inning, but the left-hander was able to get through the frame, although he did give up a home run to Scott Hairston.
"It was just a little tightness," Pomeranz said. "No serious pain. Obviously, if it was serious pain, I wouldn't have been able to pitch that inning and get people out."
The ball continued to fly, as the Mets put three runs back on the board in the top of the sixth on Hairston's two-run double off the left-field wall and an RBI single up the middle from Duda. The double completed a cycle for Hairston, who singled to lead off the second, homered to lead off the fourth and tripled in the fifth. It was the 10th cycle in Mets history.
Despite Pomeranz's strong start and the Rockies' big offensive output, Colorado's bullpen still got a workout. Seven of the Mets' runs came off Rogers and Josh Roenicke. Matt Reynolds, Matt Belisle, and Rex Brothers finally brought the scoring to an end with three scoreless innings to finish the game.
The Rockies had five batters with multihit games, including Marco Scutaro (four), Gonzalez, Todd Helton and Fowler (three) and Troy Tulowitzki (two).
Ramon Hernandez came to the plate in the seventh with the bases loaded as the only Rockie starter without a hit -- even Pomeranz singled in the second -- and deposited a 1-1 fastball into the right-field seats for his seventh career grand slam and the Rockies' first of the year.
"Our ballclub is capable offensively, and explosions like that can occur," Tracy said. "Carlos had six RBIs [matching a career high]. You get a big at-bat from Dexter. You get a grand slam from Ramon Hernandez. You get a [solo shot] from Troy Tulowitzki. Just up and down -- four hits from Scutaro. A phenomenal offensive game that began in the fifth inning with an extraordinary hustle play by Eric Young Jr."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.