In the battle of rehabbing major leaguers, the 51s came up short.
Steven Matz struggled through four innings in his first Triple-A rehab start, Round Rock’s Tyson Ross was strong and the 51s gave up a season high in runs in a 14-3 loss Tuesday night at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas.
“He left too many mistakes over the middle of the plate,” Las Vegas manager Pedro Lopez said of Matz. “It’s part of the process. He’s been out for a while.”
Matz has not pitched with the New York Mets this season after sustaining a left elbow injury in spring training. He made his first rehab start Thursday with High-A St. Lucie and tossed three innings of one-run ball.
On Tuesday, he pitched four innings, gave up five hits, five runs, two walks and struck out four. Round Rock’s Cesar Puello hit two home runs, one a towering drive to center and the other a line drive down the right-field line.
Matz made it through the first inning unscathed, then Puello launched a two-out bomb in the second. A leadoff triple by Luis Marte in the third led to two more runs, and Puello hit a solo shot in the fourth for the final damage against Matz.
Lopez said he expects Matz to pitch at least one more game with the 51s, but said he would wait for the Mets to make the final say.
“Hopefully next outing will be a better one,” Lopez said. “Facing better competition is always hard after being out for so long. The main thing right now is that he’s healthy and feels good.
51s right-hander Kevin McGowan entered in the fifth and gave up back-to-back homers to Drew Robinson and Jason Martinson. McGowan allowed six runs in the inning as the Express (20-26) took an 11-0 lead.
The 51s (19-27) could not manage much off Ross, and the Texas Rangers have to be encouraged with what they saw. Ross looked ready to pitch in Texas, throwing five shutout innings with two hits allowed, a walk and five strikeouts.
The 51s finally scored in the sixth after Ross left the game. Left fielder Victor Cruzado blasted a one-out home run to right field, his first homer of the season.
Las Vegas shortstop Amed Rosario singled in the third, and Travis Taijeron singled in the fifth for the 51s’ two hits off Ross. Rosario finished 2-for-4, bringing his average to .363.
Taijeron hit a two-run homer in the ninth to score Rosario, who led off the inning by reaching on an error. It was Taijeron’s eighth homer of the season.
51s catcher Jeff Glenn pitched a scoreless inning of relief. He did not allow a hit and walked one.
Who: 51s at Round Rock Express
When: 5:05 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Dell Diamond, Round Rock, Texas
Starters: Ricky Knapp (2-4, 5.44 ERA), 51s, vs. Dillon Gee (2-4, 4.40 ERA)
Thursday: 51s at Round Rock, 5:05 p.m.
Friday: 51s at Round Rock, 5:05 p.m.
Saturday: El Paso at 51s, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: El Paso at 51s, 12:05 p.m.
Monday: El Paso at 51s, 7:05 p.m.
The Mets recalled left-hander Josh Smoker and optioned right-hander Hansel Robles to the 51s. Smoker had a 1.04 ERA in two starts in Las Vegas, and a 7.88 ERA in 15 innings out of the bullpen with the Mets.