Rosario, Mets look to even series against Rockies

DENVER -- Most things went well for New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario on Tuesday in his major league debut at Coors Field.

He will look to be on the winning side for the first time Wednesday when the Mets face the Colorado Rockies in the middle game of a three-game series.

"It was a tremendous experience," Rosario, speaking through an interpreter, said of his debut. "I have no words to describe it."

An infield single in the eighth off Scott Oberg on his fourth at-bat gave Rosario his first hit in the big leagues. He also was involved in a key play in the ninth inning, one batter before Nolan Arenado singled to give the Rockies a 5-4 win.

After Charlie Blackmon led off with a walk, Rosario, the Mets' top-rated prospect, took a step toward second to cover the base when Blackmon broke on Hansel Robles' 3-2 pitch. DJ LeMahieu hit a hard grounder that Rosario, moving back to his right, had go off his glove for an infield single.

"One of the things I did like about it and will go unnoticed," Mets manager Terry Collins said, "he didn't bust hard to the bag, where he is completely out of position. He took a jab step. He still had a chance to make the play, but he didn't make the play. A lot of guys take off and leave their position too early. He did not.

"He shouldn't be upset about that play. It was a tough play."

Before the game, Collins said he was anxious to see Rosario perform.

"I hope he can relax and just play the game without thinking he's got to prove too much," Collins said. "He's an exciting player. He's got good skills. We saw it in spring training. Now he's going to get his opportunity to show it. I talked to him about just being himself, playing the game the right way and (to) let his skills speak for themselves."

Rosario batted seventh in his debut, a comfortable place for a future top-of-the-order hitter to ease into the majors. His second game will come Wednesday when Tyler Chatwood (6-11, 4.78 ERA) starts for the Rockies against Chris Flexen (0-1, 9.00).

Flexen will be making his second major league start and first appearance against the Rockies. He made his major league debut Thursday at San Diego and took the loss in New York's 7-5 defeat. The right-hander gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits and four walks in three innings with two strikeouts.

Flaxen is the first Mets player to make his major league debut straight from Double-A since outfielder Michael Conforto in 2015 and the first Mets pitcher to do so since Mike Pelfrey in 2006.

Chatwood will be making his first start since July 15 at New York, when he took the mound after straining his right calf warming up in the bullpen. He gave up one hit -- Jay Bruce's three-run homer -- and three walks while yielding four runs in one-third of an inning.

After going on the 10-day disabled list, Chatwood returned to pitch in relief for the first time since 2012 on July 26 at St. Louis. He gave up one hit and one run in one inning with two walks and one strikeout.

The right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA in six career starts against the Mets. His troubles at Coors Field have carried over from last season. He was 4-8 with a 6.12 ERA in 14 starts there in 2016 and is 2-5 with a 6.14 ERA in eight starts there this season.

Chatwood said his stuff is as good as it has been in his career, but he hasn't been as aggressive as he needs to be.

First-year Rockies manager Bud Black, when asked about that self-assessment by Chatwood, said: "I wish I had the answer. I've tried a couple of different things with Tyler on the mental side. Getting to know him, he's awful hard on himself. I think sometimes the emotions of the game can get in the way of his performance.

"The ball-strike ratio from game to game or even the whole season is not where it needs to be to be a consistent starting pitcher. But when he's right, he's really right. We've seen that a couple different times this year."
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