DENVER -- The Mets Sunday night wore clothes out of the wild, wild West after a wild, wild 6-5, 11-inning win over the Rockies at Coors Field.
The cowboy-themed attire (part of a team-building exercise that included manager Terry Collins) might not have seemed as appropriate or funny if the Mets had lost after blowing a pair of late-inning leads.
"I'm very, very proud of them today," Collins said. "These guys battled very hard here. We worked hard to get on base. Some big hits. There were some very positive things today on a day when we should have won this game a lot easier than we did."
The Mets, who had 18 hits to give them 48 for the series, left 14 men on base and blew leads of 4-0 in the eighth and 5-4 in the 10th. Tim Byrdak allowed a tying grand slam to Todd Helton in the eighth to deprive Johan Santana (six shutout innings) of his first 2012 win.
After the Mets retook the lead in the 10th on Denver product Kirk Nieuwenhuis' RBI double, eventual winning pitcher Frank Francisco (1-1) gave up a tying home run to Carlos Gonzalez. "This is a tough place to play," Collins said. "This is a tough place to pitch. They know they're up last and they don't ever give up."
To the Mets' credit, neither did they. They took one final lead in the 11th on Davis' RBI single.
Davis, who came into the game batting .143 and left it at .169, grounded his third hit of the afternoon past diving third baseman Chris Nelson. It drove in David Wright, who had singled off Matt Belisle (1-2) to open the inning and moved to third on Lucas Duda's single.
"I thought it was great of [Davis]," Collins said. "He knew how they were defensing him and he knew if he just got something to leftfield, he was going to get a hit. I think he's breaking out. I thought his swings today were much better."
In his previous at-bat, Davis lined to second with the potential go-ahead run on third in the ninth. "It's going to be a slow process," Davis said. "You're not going to wake up tomorrow and I'm going to be hitting .300. It's going to take every game, grinding it out, and hopefully in a couple weeks, my average will be back to normal."
Santana, going on four days' rest for the first time this season, was lifted after 90 pitches. He allowed two hits, walked three and struck out five.
Santana had never pitched in this hitters' paradise, so he didn't know what to expect. And the Mets hadn't scored a single run while he was on the mound this season until they got three in the first against 49-year-old Jamie Moyer. Wright (2-for-3, three walks) had a two-run double and Hairston an RBI single.
Josh Thole's solo homer in the fifth had the Mets up 4-0 going to the eighth. But Jon Rauch allowed a single and two walks, the second with two outs, to bring lefthanded-swinging pinch hitter Helton to the plate against lefthander Byrdak.
Helton, with his good friend and fellow former Tennessee Volunteer quarterback Peyton Manning in attendance, smacked a 2-and-2 slider off the facing of the second deck in right to tie the score at 4 and deprive Santana of his first win since Aug. 12, 2010.
"We won,'' Santana said, "and that's all I care about."