Collmenter, D-backs end 3-game skid, beat Mets
NEW YORK (AP) — Once Martin Prado caught Curtis Granderson’s popup, Arizona’s around-the-horn show zipped into fast motion.
The third baseman whipped the ball across the diamond to second baseman Aaron Hill. He quickly tossed it to shortstop Chris Owings, who flipped over his shoulder to left fielder Cody Ross. One more pass to center fielder A.J. Pollock, and soon the souvenir got thrown into the stands.
It’s a fun, unique routine the Diamondbacks often perform after inning-ending pops and flyouts, and they got to practice a few more times Saturday in a 3-2 win over the New York Mets.
“No one really talked about it, we just started doing it sometime last year,” Ross said. “You throw it to one guy, and then it goes to the next guy and the next,” he said.
“Just whoever is looking for the ball as we run to the dugout,” he said. “Kind of a team-bonding thing, a chemistry thing.”
As Ross spoke, the postgame music in the Arizona clubhouse was pumping. “Young, Wild & Free” by Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg featuring Bruno Mars was playing, and Ross sang along to the lyrics of “we’re just having fun.”
Quite a difference from the start of the season for the Diamondbacks. After opening up at 8-22, they’ve gone 11-9.
Josh Collmenter provided another solid start, Prado hit a pair of RBI singles and the Diamondbacks won on a wet afternoon to end a three-game skid.
A day after Hill had a home run washed out when the game at Citi Field was postponed because of rain, he cracked a key hit that counted. His second-inning double set up run-scoring singles by Prado and Ross that put Arizona ahead to stay.
David Wright homered, doubled and singled for the Mets. After he connected in the fifth for his third homer, Granderson popped out and the Diamondbacks began tossing the ball around as they headed toward the bench.
“It’s like hot potato out there,” Collmenter said. “It’s fun to watch.”
Collmenter (3-2) won his third decision in a row over a span of six starts. The righty with the unusual, straight over-the-top delivery allowed two runs in six innings before the Arizona bullpen held on.
Collmenter led NL relievers in innings last year, and began this season with four relief appearances. He then moved into the rotation after starters Randall Delgado and Trevor Cahill were demoted.
Arizona reliever Evan Marshall got Daniel Murphy to ground into a double play with two on to end the seventh, and Brad Ziegler escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth.
Addison Reed pitched a perfect ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances.
Zack Wheeler (1-5) is now winless in seven starts. His lone victory came in mid-April when he won at Phoenix in Collmenter’s first start of the year.
Wheeler’s control troubles have hurt him this year. A leadoff walk in the second led to Arizona scoring twice, and Wheeler later hit two batters.
“I was a little bit better with my command today. I was not perfect, of course, but it was better,” he said.
Wheeler was pulled after throwing 118 pitches, matching a career high.
“I could have kept going, if it was not for the pitch count or whatever. I felt strong all the way through,” he said.
Hill doubled off the left-center wall in the second, near the spot where he cleared the fence Friday night for a two-run homer. The stats from that game were wiped away when it was stopped in the fourth inning because of heavy showers, forcing a doubleheader Sunday.
Prado’s RBI single in the third came after a throwing error by shortstop Wilmer Flores and made it 3-0 as a light rain fell on and off.
Granderson hit an RBI double in the Mets third after singles by Murphy and Wright.
NOTES: Arizona had lost five in a row to the Mets. ... The Mets are 1-9 in their last 10 games decided by one run. ... Arizona RHP Bronson Arroyo (4-3, 4.45) will start Game 1 Sunday against RHP Rafael Montero (0-2, 6.97). The Diamondbacks will promote RHP Zeke Spruill from Triple-A to make his season debut in the majors in the second game vs. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-0, 2.14). Matsuzaka hasn’t started this year. ... Righty reliever Vic Black will join the Mets as the 26th man for the doubleheader. He throws hard, but can be wild. ... Mets LF Chris Young rammed into the wall padding while catching Hill’s drive in the fifth. ... Mets RHP Bartolo Colon turned 41, a day after pitching four innings in the rainout. He’s giving up home runs at much higher rate than usual, and manager Terry Collins said pitch location is the problem. ... Wright is 13 for 29 during a seven-game hitting streak.