One day after the Mets' most cringe-worthy off-field debacle of the season, the team again did its best to part the dark cloud hovering over the organization. They defeated the Rockies, 4-0, last night for their fourth consecutive win, the first time they have put together such a run in two months (May 25-29).
Mike Pelfrey threw 61/3 shutout innings and has not given up a run in his past three starts (20 innings) against Colorado. Pelfrey (8-6, 4.72) allowed seven hits and three walks, striking out five. He threw 71 of his 115 pitches for strikes.
"As the season goes along, he seems to get stronger,'' manager Jerry Manuel said. "That's where he is at this point. Hopefully, [the rest] of his outings are pretty much the same as the one tonight.''
Despite a lack of power, the Mets launched a steady attack against Colorado starter Jason Marquis (12-7), who entered the game leading the league in wins. Daniel Murphy led off the second with a line double to right and Jeff Francoeur followed with a single to center for his 16th RBI in 14 games as a Met for a 1-0 lead.
The Mets built on their lead in the third as Luis Castillo, who entered last night leading the National League with a .403 batting average during July, continued his hot month with a single that glanced off second base and scored Alex Cora to make it 2-0.
Pelfrey began to struggle in the fourth, giving up three hits and a walk sandwiched around a double play, prompting pitching coach Dan Warthen to visit the mound. With two outs and the bases loaded, however, Pelfrey wriggled out of trouble as he got Clint Barmes to pop out to Castillo to retire the side.
After Pelfrey battled his way out of trouble, the Mets provided him more breathing room in the bottom of the fourth. Murphy led off with a walk, advanced to third on Barmes' error on Cory Sullivan's ground ball and scored on Brian Schneider's sacrifice fly.
Although Pelfrey recovered from a shaky fourth by pitching a 1-2-3 fifth, he found himself in a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the sixth. But Pelfrey again induced Barmes to pop out.
"I got into a couple bases-loaded jams there. Luckily I was able to get Barmes to pop up twice," Pelfrey said. "I felt like when I got into a jam, I made a pitch when I had to.''
Murphy drove in the final run, a single to score Castillo, who appeared to be out. Rockies manager Jim Tracy argued the call and was ejected.
Everything seemed to go right for the Mets. Distractions? Keep 'em coming.
"We really kept ourselves out of the middle of that," David Wright said of all the off-field controversy. "I'm proud that our team has shown a lot of fight. We've gained some momentum and hopefully, we can keep that going.''