DENVER — Pinch hitter Charlie Culberson hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning off Kyle Farnsworth Saturday night, and the Rockies, down by six runs early, rallied again to beat the Mets 11-10 in a wild affair.
The Mets had weathered an eight-run fifth inning by Colorado, that included Nolan Arenado’s grand slam, and took a 10-9 lead on Juan Lagares’ RBI single in the ninth inning off LaTroy Hawkins (1-0).
But Troy Tulowitzki, who recorded his 1,000th career hit earlier, singled off Farnsworth (0-2) to start the bottom of the ninth. He advanced to second on a deep flyout by Arenado, and Culberson followed with a drive that cleared the center field wall.
The crowd erupted as he rounded the bases. As he neared the plate, he tossed his helmet and jumped onto home plate as he was mobbed by his teammates.
“I don’t hit many home runs, but for some reason right there, I hit it, and I just knew it had to go out,” Culberson said. “More to the point, like it had better go out.
“Hitting a walk-off, I really can’t describe it. That’s definitely the best feeling I’ve ever had in baseball, so far.”
It was a sudden finish to a game in which the teams combined for 30 hits, including Arenado’s slam that extended his major league-best hitting streak to 23 games.
Tulowitzki notched his 1,000th hit in the seventh when he singled up the middle off reliever Daisuke Matsuzaka.
“I think the No. 1 thing on my 1,000th hit is I’ll remember this game and how we won it,” Tulowitzki said. “That makes it that much more special.”
The ninth-year pro became the fifth Rockies player with 1,000 hits and the 78th active player to reach the milestone. He scored from third on Jordan Pacheco’s sacrifice fly to give Colorado a 9-8 lead, but the Mets tied it again in the eighth on Chris Young’s RBI single.
Staked to an early 6-0 lead, Jenrry Mejia had blanked the Rockies through the first four innings and seemed headed toward the solid pitching outing New York needed.
Instead, he became the third straight Mets starter to fail to get out of the fifth after the rotation began the season with 26 straight starts of at least five innings.
The turnaround was triggered by Ryan Wheeler’s first home run of the season leading off the fifth. The Rockies sent 11 men to the plate in the inning.
In one stunning five-pitch stretch, Mejia gave up RBI singles to Charlie Blackmon, Drew Stubbs and Carlos Gonzalez as the Rockies tied it at 4.
Mejia then hit Tulowitzki in his upper left arm to load the bases, and Arenado drove the next pitch into the left field bleachers for his second career slam and the first by a Rockies player this season.