NEW YORK (AP) — Adam LaRoche was in the visiting clubhouse at Citi Field on Sunday when he was stopped by Kirk Gibson. The Diamondbacks’ interim manager told LaRoche he was due, the kind of off-the-cuff comment that skippers make to players on a daily basis.
It turned out to be a premonition.
LaRoche hit a pair of three-run homers to support a memorable Arizona debut for Daniel Hudson, and the Diamondbacks romped to a
14-1 victory over the New York Mets.
“You say stuff like that out of jest all the time,” Gibson said of his brazen prediction for LaRoche. “I’ve been wrong lots of times.”
Not this time.
LaRoche had his sixth career multihomer game, both shots coming off Jon Niese (7-5), and would have made it three homers in as many innings if it wasn’t for the spacious dimensions at Citi Field. He scorched a pitch in the sixth that fell just short of the 415-foot sign on the center-field wall, and cruised into second with a double.
The six RBIs were still a career high for LaRoche, who has quietly had an impressive season for Arizona. He has 16 homers and a team-best 70 RBIs on the year.
“Good all-around game,” LaRoche said. “It was good to get some runs up on the board.”
Stephen Drew and John Hester added back-to-back homers as the Diamondbacks wrapped up a dominating season series against New York. They took five of six, rebounding from the lone loss to prevent the Mets from winning consecutive games for the first time since June.
“When you give up a lot of runs early, six, seven runs like that, it’s tough to come back from,” Mets third baseman David Wright said. “We didn’t perform in any area of the game.”
Hudson (1-0) allowed three hits in eight innings in his sixth career start, and his first since arriving in a trade with the White Sox that sent Edwin Jackson to Chicago.
Hudson allowed only one hit after the first inning, and his lone walk in the fourth ended up scoring the Mets’ only run. The
23-year-old right-hander more than made up for it at the plate, too, with a two-run double in the fifth inning for his first career hit.
“I might have been a little nervous. Nobody wants to do bad out there in their first start with a new team,” he said. “When you get that many runs, you don’t have to be perfect.”
Justin Upton extended his hitting streak to 17 games, Hester reached four times and eight different players drove in at least one run for the Diamondbacks. They belted out 16 hits on the same day that Dwight Gooden joined Darryl Strawberry and two others for induction into the Mets’ Hall of Fame.
New York sure could have used Doc in this one.
Niese was cruising until Kelly Johnson hit a one-out single in the fourth, Upton laced a base hit and LaRoche homered to right field. After the Mets got one back in the bottom half, Johnson and Upton reached again in the fifth and LaRoche hit a 1-0 pitch into almost the exact same spot in the right-field stands to make it
“They made the adjustments well and I didn’t make the counter-adjustments,” Niese said.
The Mets’ defense didn’t do much to help. Wright threw a ball into center field on an easy fielder’s choice in the fifth, and center fielder Angel Pagan overthrew home a few minutes later to keep the Diamondbacks’ big inning going.
Elmer Dessens eventually came on in relief and allowed Hudson’s two-run double and the homers to Drew and Hester in the seventh inning. Mark Reynolds drove in a run in the eighth and the Diamondbacks scored three more times off Oliver Perez in the ninth.
By then, what was left from a festive crowd that came out to see the Mets’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony on a pleasant afternoon had turned spiteful, showering the club with boos before it embarked on a brutal six-game trip to Atlanta and Philadelphia.
“It definitely hurts your pride a little bit when you perform in that manner,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “We didn’t pitch, we didn’t hit, we didn’t play defense.”
NOTES: Hudson was 1-1 with the White Sox. … Along with Gooden and Strawberry, former manager Davey Johnson and longtime GM Frank Cashen were inducted into the Hall of Fame. All were key parts of the Mets’ 1986 World Series title team. … Arizona optioned OF Cole Gillespie to make room for SS Bobby Crosby, who was acquired Saturday in a five-player swap with Pittsburgh. … The Diamondbacks’ choice of pregame TV: Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.
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