NEW YORK (AP/WFAN) — The New York Mets’ discouraging season took an ugly turn when closer Francisco Rodriguez wound up in police custody and facing assault charges for a post-game scuffle with a family member at Citi Field.
Police say Rodriguez’s father-in-law is in the hospital with a scrape on his face and a bump on his head.
The altercation occurred after the Mets’ 6-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night, police and the Mets said. Police say Rodriguez will be charged with third-degree assault and hasn’t been arrested.
Rodriguez did not pitch in the game. The scuffle came shortly after Melvin Mora kept what’s left of Colorado’s postseason hopes alive with a go-ahead grand slam that turned around the game and — possibly– the Rockies season.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy said that if the Rockies wind up in the middle of a playoff race, Mora’s slam may turn out to have been an inflection point. Colorado was seven games out of first and 4 1/2 out of the wild card before San Diego and San Francisco played later.
The Mets probably no longer have any illusions. The night got off to a promising start when Angel Pagan hit a two-run homer in the first and Jonathon Niese hung on to the early lead through seven strong innings, but it all came undone in the eighth.
“I’m not having much fun right now,” said David Wright, who struck out four times. “It’s tough.”
With two outs in the eighth, Hisanori Takahashi (7-6) gave up a single to Todd Helton and walked Carlos Gonzalez, prompting manager Jerry Manuel to call on Manny Acosta. Acosta’s first offering was a wild pitch that let the runners advance, and Troy Tulowitzki was intentionally walked.
“I’ve been in this situation many years, and I know the pressure isn’t on me, it’s on the pitcher,” Mora said. “I love that pressure, and I love that situation.”
Mora’s slam to left — the Mets lead the majors having given up nine this season — had barely landed when fans got up and started to leave. Those who stayed booed and some tried to start a feeble “Fire Jerry!” chant aimed at manager Jerry Manuel.
“They are obviously frustrated, as we are,” Wright said. “The fans have every right to voice their opinion.”
Acosta followed the homer with a walk and two singles, the last one a dying quail by Clint Barmes that landed in shallow left field to score one more run and bring Manuel out just as the chants started up again.
“That’s part of it,” Manuel said. “When you make decisions and they don’t work out, New York will let you know.”
Rockies starter Jeff Francis allowed two runs and three hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked one.
Matt Belisle (5-4) struck out the side in the seventh, part of a string of seven straight Mets who whiffed. Rafael Betancourt and Huston Street followed with a perfect inning each.
The Mets had three hits and didn’t get a baserunner after the fifth.
Pagan’s first-inning shot was a no-doubt drive to left field after Jose Reyes led off the inning with a bunt single.
Niese gave up one run in seven innings, striking out seven without a walk. He has allowed one run in three of his last four starts.
After Niese started the seventh inning with two singles, he gave up a sacrifice fly before retiring Barmes on a popup to second baseman Luis Castillo in shallow right field.
Though they weren’t really in contention, no matter what they said, the Mets were showing signs of life. They beat Colorado and ace Ubaldo Jimenez 1-0 Tuesday night and were poised to win consecutive games for the first time since June 22-23. Instead, they ended their evening in a hail of jeers.
“This is rough,” Niese said. “It’s tough to watch.”
Notes: The homer was Mora’s third of the season. … After Wright’s third K, he hit the bench twice with his bat, taking two one-handed whacks before throwing it aside. … Following Pagan’s homer, Francis didn’t allow another hit until Henry Blanco led off the fifth with a single. … Jeff Francoeur lost his grip on the bat swinging at a third strike in the bottom of the seventh, sending the bat halfway to shortstop. … Rockies pitcher Esmil Rogers pinch-ran in the eighth. … Colorado hasn’t won a series at the Mets since taking 2 of 3 in May 2002.
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