New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel had an exhaustive explanation for his club’s sudden resurgence, emphasizing some strong pitching and the stellar job his ramshackle lineup of contact hitters has done in generating offense.
Mike Pelfrey offered a much more succinct explanation for New York’s four-game winning streak.
“We’re just playing better baseball,” he said.
Pelfrey pitched into the seventh inning, and the Mets‘ meager offense kept pecking away in a 4-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
Luis Castillo, Jeff Francoeur, Brian Schneider and David Murphy each drove in a run for New York, which matched its longest winning streak since May 25-29. Murphy scored twice and contributed several good defensive plays, including a nimble 3-6-1 double play in the fourth inning.
“It feels good to win, and that starts with our pitching,” said David Wright, who had two hits. “Yesterday our bullpen was fantastic and today Mike Pelfrey threw about as well as Mike Pelfrey can throw.”
The hard-tossing right-hander rebounded from consecutive losses to again fluster the Rockies, running his scoreless innings streak against them to 20. Pelfrey (8-6) got into bases-loaded jams in the fourth and sixth innings, but escaped both times.
Pedro Feliciano got five straight outs in relief, and Sean Green completed the shutout.
“Everybody knows what we need to do,” Pelfrey said. “Confidence-wise, we feel if we show up here you can put money on us. I don’t know if you could have said that two weeks ago.”
The run of good performances has helped take some of the attention away from the Mets‘ front-office turmoil, which included the firing of a team official Monday for a series of highly publicized blowups, and a bizarre news conference in which general manager Omar Minaya questioned the motives of a reporter who had written about the dismissed executive.
For all the disorder with the Mets, the Rockies had been the picture of tranquility.
They had won 34 of 48 since June 3 and lost consecutive games just three times, putting themselves in playoff contention. But the Rockies still haven’t figured out how to win in New York, where they have lost four straight to the Mets and 20 of 22 overall.
“We’ve lost two in a row,” starter Jason Marquis said. “It sounds like we’ve lost 10 in a row.”
Marquis (12-7) allowed three runs in six innings, showing no problem with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand that caused him to miss his last start. He scattered seven hits and a walk, but still has just one win in his last five starts.
It was the first time the Rockies were shut out since a 1-0 loss at the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 1. They were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and leaving nine on base.
“That’s the difference in the game tonight,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “We’re sputtering offensively the last couple days. It’s tested our mettle.”
Murphy got things started for the Mets with a leadoff double in the fourth, eventually scoring on a base hit by Francoeur. They tacked on another run in the third when Alex Cora singled and went to second on Pelfrey’s bunt, and scored when a grounder by Castillo ricocheted off second base and behind Clint Barmes, who was ranging to his right to make the play.
Murphy walked to lead off the next inning, and Cory Sullivan hit a sharp grounder that Barmes couldn’t handle at second. Murphy wound up at third and trotted home on Schneider’s sacrifice fly.
Things unraveled for the Rockies in the eighth, when Castillo and Wright drew leadoff walks and Murphy singled to center. Dexter Fowler‘s throw home appeared to beat Castillo’s slide, but umpire Larry Vanover called him safe and Tracy came out to argue.
After a heated exchange at the plate, Tracy was ejected.
“I don’t normally get too animated unless I’m pretty much correct,” Tracy said, “and in this case, I was correct.”
Mets SS Jose Reyes (calf tendinitis) still has not run bases during his rehab, Manuel said. … Cora was thrown out on a strong throw by Rockies RF Brad Hawpe trying to stretch a single in the fourth. … Feliciano has not allowed an earned run in 22 2-3 innings at Citi Field this season.