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Mets focus on maintaining urgency against Rockies

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets returned from the All-Star break possessing the type of urgency that manager Terry Collins wanted to see out of a club facing a monstrous uphill climb back into playoff contention.

The big lead the Colorado Rockies enjoy in the race for the National League's second wild card could allow manager Bud Black to be a little more low-key about his squad's sputtering second-half start.

The Mets will look to continue chipping away at the Rockies' lead in the second wild-card race Saturday night when the teams play the second game of a three-game series at Citi Field.

New York's Seth Lugo (3-2, 4.59 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Colorado's Tyler Chatwood (6-10, 4.42 ERA) in a matchup of right-handers.

The Mets rode eight strong innings from ace right-hander Jacob deGrom and a 19-hit attack to a 14-2 win over the Rockies in the series opener. New York (40-47) moved within 9 1/2 games of Colorado (52-40).

"We talked about it before the break, that when we got back, when we started (Friday), that there's a sense of urgency," Collins said afterward. "Got to pick the game up, rise up and start to put some things together. And tonight was one of those occasions."

Nights like Friday are becoming increasingly commonplace for the Rockies, who have lost 14 of 19, a stretch in which they've been outscored 121-76. But Black preached patience and lauded deGrom.

"It's one game against a guy who was on," Black said. "It's one game."

In Chatwood, the Rockies will send to the mound someone who is usually "on" whenever he faces the Mets. Chatwood is 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in five career starts against New York -- the lowest ERA he HAs produced against any opponent he has faced more than three times.

On Saturday, Chatwood will be trying to snap a five-start winless streak -- a stretch in which he is 0-3 despite a 4.55 ERA. Chatwood took the loss in his final pre-All-Star Game start on July 6 when he gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings as the Rockies fell to the Cincinnati Reds 6-3.

Lugo will make his first start in 11 days. He took the loss on July 4 after allowing six runs in five innings as the Mets fell to the Washington Nationals 11-4. Lugo made his final appearance of the first half on Sunday when he gave up one run in three innings of relief in the Mets' 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

This will be Lugo's second career appearance against the Rockies. He allowed two runs in three innings of relief in a game at Coors Field last July 30.

The Rockies could welcome back a pivotal piece of their lineup. The Denver Post reported Friday afternoon that first baseman/outfielder Ian Desmond, who has been out since July 3 with a right calf strain, has a chance to be activated without going out on a minor league rehab assignment.

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