DENVER — Starling Marte looked to the sky as usual upon completing a home-run trot, but this time had an additional family member in his thoughts.
Returning from the bereavement list following the death of his grandmother Brigada Gonzalez, the Mets outfielder crushed the first pitch he saw Saturday, circled the bases, blessed himself and looked toward the great beyond with clasped hands.
“That’s something for the people who are up in heaven, my loved ones that are up there, just hoping they are proud of me,” Marte said after the Mets beat the Rockies 5-1 in Game 1 of a split doubleheader at Coors Field .
The Mets lost 11-3 in the nightcap, after the Rockies used a seven-run sixth inning against Adonis Medina and Chasen Shreve to take control.
Backup catcher Brian Serven smashed two home runs — his first career major league hits. The Mets, who split their second doubleheader in five days, had snapped a three-game winning streak.
Marte’s two-run blast against German Marquez in the first inning sent the Mets on a course from which they never veered in Game 1.
Marte said the loss of his grandmother was difficult given that she had raised him since he was 10 years old, following his mother’s passing.
“She was the person that raised me and my two sisters, so everything we have today from our growth, our maturity, we learned it from her,” Marte said. “She taught us everything. It’s sad for the whole family, but you just have to continue to move forward.
“It was special. It’s not that much different from the other home runs, but she would always support me, she would always give me this prayer I like to say right before a game and that is what I kind of remembered most on a day like today.”
In the third-base dugout, manager Buck Showalter said he struggled to contain his emotions.
“I am glad I had glasses on,” Showalter said, noting that the Mets retrieved the ball for Marte.
Marte’s homer provided a cushion for Carlos Carrasco before he threw a pitch in his first career start at Coors Field.
Carrasco rebounded from a rough start against the Mariners by allowing one earned run on seven hits over 5 ¹/₃ innings. The right-hander allowed only one hit for extra bases and didn’t walk a batter.
“It’s completely different and weird,” Carrasco said of pitching a mile above sea level. “I was out of breath out there, just taking my time between pitches. I went out there and made my pitches and we won the game. That’s the important thing.”
The doubleheader was necessitated by Friday’s postponement due to wintery conditions, the second straight season in which a Mets visit to Colorado included a snow out.
No stranger to doubleheaders, the Mets played their fifth of the season and 19th since the beginning of 2021 (by far the most of any MLB team). This season the Mets have split three doubleheaders and won two.
Patrick Mazeika stroked a two-run double in the second that extended the Mets’ lead to 4-0. Dominic Smith reached on Jose Iglesias’ error leading off and Luis Guillorme singled before Mazieka delivered.
Francisco Lindor brought in the Mets’ fifth run with a two-out single in the sixth. Guillorme’s third single of the game started the rally and Marte also singled.
Drew Smith fired a perfect seventh inning for the Mets. Seth Lugo pitched two scoreless innings to finish it. The six-out appearance was Lugo’s longest of the season.
“The first inning or two [Carrasco] scuffled a little bit,” Showalter said. “I wasn’t sure what we were going to be able to get there, but he found a way. Carlos was good. I just didn’t know how far to push him. I was going hitter to hitter with him for three or four guys there.”
Trevor Williams allowed four earned runs on three hits — which included homers to CJ Cron and Serven — in the nightcap.
Tomas Nido and Brandon Nimmo each drove in a run in the second inning to tie it 2-2, but Serven’s two-run blast in the bottom of the inning put the Mets back in a deficit.
JD Davis’ RBI single in the sixth got the Mets as close as 4-3, before Medina and Shreve were ambushed. Serven’s second two-run homer of the game was the inning’s loudest hit.