Granderson, Johnson power surging Mets to sweep of Rockies
Ever since the pitching-rich Mets beefed up their lineup before the trade deadline, they look downright dangerous.
On the mound, at the plate -- and maybe even come October.
Curtis Granderson and Kelly Johnson each homered and drove in three runs, powering New York to a 12-3 rout of the Colorado Rockies that completed a four-game sweep Thursday.
"I think we'd be a tough team in the playoffs," Johnson said.
Noah Syndergaard recovered nicely from a rocky start for his latest win at Citi Field, where the Mets have won 10 straight against Colorado.
With their seventh consecutive home win and 11th in 13 games overall, the NL East leaders (63-52) moved 11 games over .500 for the first time since June 27, 2010.
"We realize we're in a race and it's got a chance to be what we determine it to be," manager Terry Collins said. "If we continue to play well, it's going to be really fun, the last six weeks."
Up next, a tough test against Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates this weekend in a potential postseason preview. New York got swept at Pittsburgh in May and outscored 21-4.
"Looking forward to it," Granderson said. "Hopefully we can even that out."
Johnson doubled twice, including a two-out hit that broke a tie in the third inning. Granderson connected for his 20th homer in the fourth, a two-run shot off struggling rookie Eddie Butler (3-10).
Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares capped the outburst, launching a three-run drive off reliever Tommy Kahnle in the eighth.
"We're trying to mix and match and get everybody a part of it. Just like today: Kelly hasn't played in a couple days, he steps up, has a huge game," Collins said. "I think that's the atmosphere right now is that everybody's got a piece of the pie. Everybody enjoys it."
Syndergaard (7-6) went seven innings and improved to 7-1 at Citi Field, but the 22-year-old rookie labored early. After entering with a 1.57 ERA in his own ballpark, he got tagged for first-inning homers by DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado.
That snapped New York's scoreless streak at 23 innings, all against the Rockies this week. It was the club's longest since a run that lasted exactly as long in June 2012.
After that, Syndergaard switched to off-speed stuff early in the count and shut down Colorado. He did not permit a hit after the second inning and retired 14 of his final 15 batters -- with the only runner erased on a double play.
"He found a groove and settled in. Then he was tough to get to after that," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
The last-place Rockies have lost 11 of 15 overall and 24 of 32 on the road.
Colorado has dropped eight straight to the Mets since May 2014.
"That's a big-time staff right there. They're young and strong and they've got some horses over there and they look like they're at the top of their game," Weiss said. "It's tough to find a collection of guys like that at that stage of their careers and that accomplished this early."
The Mets, who are 42-18 at home, matched a season high with nine extra-base hits. They've scored the most runs in the National League since July 24, when rookie outfielder Michael Conforto was called up from Double-A, and Johnson and Juan Uribe were acquired from Atlanta. After averaging 3.4 runs per game before that date, New York has upped it to 5.3 runs since then while going 13-5.
Rockies: SS Jose Reyes was rested against his former team. "Just a quick turnaround," Weiss said. "Take care of his legs."
Mets: 1B Lucas Duda missed his third straight game with a stiff back. The first two came with left-handers on the mound for Colorado, but Collins definitely wanted Duda in the lineup Thursday. The slugger was given medicine Wednesday night to ease the discomfort but didn't feel much better Thursday morning, according to Collins. "There's a concern," he said. "The level's 5. Defcon 5." Collins said doctors think another 24 hours of rest could make a difference. But if Duda can't play Friday, the manager acknowledged, New York might have to consider the disabled list. ... Murphy started at first base after getting the night off Wednesday.
Rockies: LHP Yohan Flande (2-1, 3.86 ERA) makes his fourth start this season and first at home Friday night against Padres RHP Tyson Ross (8-9, 3.39) in the opener of a nine-game homestand.
Mets: RHP Bartolo Colon (10-11, 4.76 ERA) faces new Pittsburgh lefty J.A. Happ in the opener of a three-game series. The 42-year-old Colon is 1-7 with a 5.30 ERA in his past nine outings, with opponents hitting .321 against him. But he is 4-2 with a 1.97 ERA -- his best vs. any opponent -- in seven career starts against the Pirates.