Steven Matz did his best to convince Mets Manager Mickey Callaway that the team’s top three starters are now a fab four.
Matz struck out 10, tied a career high by throwing 120 pitches and earned the win as the Mets beat the Colorado Rockies, 5-3, on Saturday night at Citi Field.
“He’s been a big part of a big four, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Callaway said. “And I think he can keep the big four intact.”
Matz has been accompanied by high expectations since he was selected by the Mets in the second round of the 2009 draft. But he did not pitch professionally until 2012 because of Tommy John surgery and has endured five trips to the injured list with arm injuries over the last three seasons.
During that time, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler have emerged as the Mets’ most durable starters, and they have combined to throw at least 110 pitches seven times this season.
Matz, though, has been the most consistent starter. He has allowed two runs or fewer seven times in nine starts, a stretch that included an I.L. stint brought by nerve irritation in his left forearm.
He might have made his final step into the Mets’ inner circle on Saturday, striking out 10, one shy of his career high. He allowed three runs (two earned), six hits and two walks.
Matz, who had not thrown more than 104 pitches in his first 11 starts, reached 120 pitches for the first time since 2016.
“A little bit of old school, 120 pitches in six,” said Rockies Manager Bud Black, who pitched in the majors from 1981 through 1995.
Matz had just two 1-2-3 innings on Saturday, but he stranded seven runners, including four in scoring position. He ended his night by striking out the Rockies’ leadoff batter, Charlie Blackmon, to strand two.
“I felt really good tonight,” Matz said. “I want to just keep going out there and have a high pitch count. I think that’s cool. That’s what starting pitchers want to do, is be really durable.”
Amed Rosario put Matz in line to earn the win in the bottom of the sixth when he hit into a run-scoring double play to snap a 3-3 tie. The rookie sensation Pete Alonso led off the seventh with his 21st home run, even if he did not seem sure at first.
Alonso’s soaring drive was just beyond the glove of left fielder David Dahl and off the orange line atop the fence. The ball bounced back onto the field, Alonso kept running, and he slid into third.
But a review showed it was indeed a home run. Alonso is now five from matching Darryl Strawberry’s team record for homers by a rookie.
“I saw it off the bat, that ball’s really up there,” Alonso said. “I just kept running and then I finally got the call from the umpire, home run. It was like: ‘Whoa! That was sick!’ ”
Seth Lugo retired all six batters he faced, and Edwin Diaz notched his 14th save with a one-hit ninth.
Carlos Gomez put the Mets ahead with a two-run homer in the second inning, and Todd Frazier had a run-scoring single in the third.
The Rockies tied the game twice. In the second, Blackmon and Nolan Arenado delivered R.B.I. singles. In the fourth, Brendan Rodgers singled with one out, went to third on Tony Wolters’s single and scored when Frazier’s throw to second to try to get Wolters sailed into right field.
Jon Gray (5-5) allowed four runs, eight hits and three walks in five and two-thirds innings. He struck out eight.