A confident current ran through Citi Field. The Mets were looking up at the Rockies from a run down in the seventh inning, but this wasn't going to be a Throwback Monday, back to the days of a few weeks ago when the Mets couldn't hit.
"Lately, it's been to the point that the confidence is a lot greater, knowing that we're going to come back and win the ballgame," Jon Niese said.
Held to one hit through six innings by rookie Jon Gray Monday night, the Mets scored three runs in the seventh against the bullpen. Behind Niese -- who turned in his 11th quality start in his last 12 outings -- first in the NL East beat worst in the NL West, 4-2, giving the Mets their eighth victory in 10 games.
"We all want to win for the city," Travis d'Arnaud said after busting out of a 4-for-23 slump with a solo homer in the second and a single in the seventh. "We all want to win for each other. It's a great atmosphere."
The NL East-leading Mets remained 11/2 games ahead of the Nationals, who beat the Dodgers, 8-3, as Ian Desmond drove in three runs with two homers. Gio Gonzalez shut out the Dodgers for eight innings before Carl Crawford pinch hit a three-run homer off Doug Fister.
In the first six innings, the Mets didn't have much fun against Gray, Colorado's hottest pitching prospect, who made his second big-league start. But Rockies manager Walt Weiss pulled the very-hard-throwing 23-year-old righty, who is on an innings limit, after 75 pitches, and Justin Miller and Boone Logan couldn't get him the win.
Facing a 2-1 deficit, the Mets loaded the bases in the seventh on d'Arnaud's single and walks to Michael Conforto and Ruben Tejada. With two outs, former Yankees lefthander Logan came on to face Curtis Granderson, the count went full -- and Logan hit Granderson in the right arm to force in the tying run.
Daniel Murphy then grounded a two-run single past the diving Jose Reyes into leftfield for a 4-2 lead. "It was good at-bat after good at-bat," Murphy said.
Said Terry Collins, "It was one of those games that probably a year ago we don't win that game. But the team, with what they're doing right now, the confidence that they have, tonight we win those kind of games."
The Mets restocked their bat rack with more options for Collins before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, acquiring Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson and Yoenis Cespedes. The Mets showed up for this series opener third in the NL in runs since July 24.
And they soon could add yet another big bat. David Wright went 1-for-3 with a walk as a DH for St. Lucie Monday night in his first rehab game.
Then there's Tyler Clippard, another new addition. Niese departed after giving up two runs and six hits in seven innings. Clippard fired a 1-2-3 eighth, setting up Jeurys Familia, who fired a 1-2-3 ninth for his 31st save. Clippard has allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings and seven outings since arriving from Oakland.
"We've got some weapons for you," Collins said. "That's why the next eight weeks should be really fun out here."
Carlos Gonzalez gave the Rockies a 2-1 lead in the fourth, lining a two-run outbound rocket to left-center. But Niese (7-9) held them from there as the Mets moved to 39-18 at Citi Field.
"It's good to know with our offense right now, at any given point, they can blow up and score three or four runs in an inning," Niese said. "It's a good feeling to know that one mistake isn't going to cost you the game."