Hundley’s homers hammer Rockies
DENVER (AP) _ Despite homering from both sides of the plate for the fourth time in his career, Todd Hundley still has an unfulfilled goal for hitting at Coors Field: Reaching the third deck.
``That thing’s talking to me, man. It’s whispering to me in my dreams,″ Hundley said Monday night after his two homers carried the New York Mets to a 6-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. ``I tried to get one up there. I don’t think I’ve got the pop to get it up there.″
Hundley had another chance today against Bill Swift, whom he victimized two years ago for the first-ever grand slam at Coors Field.
``He likes this ballpark,″ Rockies manager Don Baylor said of Hundley. ``He never misses too many opportunities in this park.″
Mets starter Bobby Jones (5-2) finally converted an opportunity at Colorado, winning for first time in five starts here to join Atlanta’s Denny Neagle as the NL’s first five-game winners.
``This is a big game for me,″ Jones said. ``It gives me a lot of confidence after the four or five starts I had here. I was terrible. I came out and had a big performance tonight.″
While Jones got over a hump, it was Hundley who was king of the hill. He finished 4-for-4 with five RBIs _ three on his left-handed homer off Kevin Ritz (3-4) in the third inning. He added a solo homer, his first of the season right-handed, off Mike Munoz in the eighth.
``The first one was a forkball, and he gave it away. I saw it in his glove, and I knew it was coming,″ Hundley said. ``I was just hoping he wasn’t going to bounce it, and I got it. That would have been gone anywhere.″
It was the second two-homer game of 1997 for Hundley, who last year broke the record for homers by a catcher (41) in a single season. He has seven two-homer games in his career _ four featuring one from each side of the plate.
The Mets, who have won seven of nine, scored their first five runs on two-out hits, and Jones kept the Rockies off-balance for seven innings with an impressive changeup.
``It turned out that I had one of the best changeups I have ever had control-wise,″ said Jones, who allowed just the one run on six hits. ``We said let’s throw a lot of fastballs and changeups and just move the ball in and out and see what happens about that.″
Hundley’s first homer just inside the left-field foul pole gave the Mets a 4-0 lead in the third. Ritz had retired the first two hitters in the inning, but gave up consecutive singles before Hundley’s 411-foot blast.
``Any time you give up runs, whether it’s two outs or one out, it’s tough,″ Ritz said. ``I threw some 1-2-3 innings, so it’ll turn around. It was just one bad pitch that cost me three runs.″
Vinny Castilla provided the only Colorado run with an RBI single that pulled the Rockies to 4-1 in the fourth. But Hundley added a two-out RBI double to give the Mets a four-run lead in the fifth. His ninth homer of the year made it 6-1.
``The disappointing thing is we gave up five runs with two outs,″ Baylor said. ``That seems to be the norm. We can get two outs...″
Ritz left for a pinch-hitter in the seventh after giving up five runs on seven hits. He struck out four and walked one.
Notes: Hundley’s fourth switch-hit homer game tied Bobby Bonilla for the Mets record. ... Hank Aaron presented the NL RBI award _ named in his honor _ to Colorado’s Andres Galarraga, who drove in 150 runs in 1996. Galarraga also received the Mel Ott Award for leading the NL with 47 homers. ... Colorado’s Eric Young had reached base eight straight times before grounding out in the third. ... Entering Monday, Rockies pitchers had allowed 45 fewer walks than last year. ... New York’s Carlos Baerga is 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. ... After going hitless in his first 12 at-bats, Ritz became the last Colorado starting pitcher to get a hit.