DENVER (AP) -Going against one of baseball's hottest pitchers, Mike Pelfrey took the mound with the mindset he was going to have to be at his best.
That approach worked out just fine for him and the New York Mets.
Pelfrey pitched seven solid innings and hit an RBI single in helping the Mets beat the Rockies 5-0 on Thursday while cooling off Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa, whose 17 wins since June 1 are the most in the majors.
``Going into the day, I felt like I had to be on top of my game because De La Rosa is pretty good,' Pelfrey said. ``I thought I did a good job locating my fastball and the split was big today. I got some big outs with it. It's a start I can build off of and continue to get better. I'm just glad it worked out.'
Pelfrey (2-0) allowed five hits, struck out six and walked none as the Mets ended a four-game skid. Only two of the Rockies' hits got out of the infield.
``He's pitching with some confidence,' said the Mets' Jeff Francouer, who singled twice and scored a run to extend his season-opening hitting streak to nine games.
``He knows how good he is, what kind of stuff he has. He's 6-7, pretty intimidating on the mound. I've told him, 'Don't let guys just dig in there,' and I thought he did a great job, backing guys off the plate today and throwing the split-finger and slider. We needed that.'
Pedro Feliciano and Francisco Rodriguez each pitched a hitless inning to finish New York's first shutout of the season and the first shutout of the Rockies at Coors Field since Sept. 6, 2008, by Houston.
The only team not to be shut out at home last season, the Rockies were of little help to De La Rosa (1-1), who struggled with his control while allowing five runs and eight hits over six innings. He walked five and threw two wild pitches that figured in a pair of runs.
De La Rosa threw seven shutout innings in his first outing of the season against San Diego and was 5-0 with a 2.49 ERA in his previous eight starts before facing New York.
``I didn't throw enough strikes,' De La Rosa said.
In contrast, De La Rosa said Pelfrey ``stayed in the strike zone and got us out. He did his job.'
Pelfrey was in control throughout on the mound but he had a wild time on the bases after drawing a leadoff walk in the third. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on Jose Reyes' single. When Luis Castillo followed with a grounder to third, Pelfrey broke for home.
Ian Stewart chased him down the line but his throw glanced off Pelfrey's shoulder and deflected off catcher Miguel Olivo's glove for an error that gave the Mets a 2-0 lead.
``I'd rather have done it in a different place, because I was getting pretty winded running the bases. It's pretty hard to breathe here,' in the high altitude, Pelfrey said with a smile.
The error kept New York from having three outs registered on the basepaths in the inning. Castillo was tagged out going for second, apparently on an aborted double steal, and Reyes was thrown out trying to steal third before David Wright struck out to end the inning.
``Those are some things we'll address,' Mets manager Jerry Manuel said of the team's base-running mistakes. ``We don't mind the aggression, but we have to be a little smarter about it.'
The Mets added two more in the fourth. Angel Pagan drove in a run with a fielder's choice and Pelfrey added his RBI single.
Jason Bay also singled in a run for New York, and Castillo scored on De La Rosa's wild pitch in the fifth.
``What was huge is we scored early, kept piling on and (Pelfrey) kept holding them, so it made it a lot easier. You kind of felt like we were kind in control the whole game. That was a fun game,' Francoeur said.
Not so much for the Rockies.
``We had some problems,' Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. ``In the fourth, if the ball is hit a little bit harder we turn the double play and it's a zero in that inning. We didn't and they score two runs.
``Then we mess up the rundown play in the third. And we have a wild pitch in the dirt that scores a run. That's four of the five runs they got. We get five hits and two of them left the infield. Very difficult to win with all of that.'
NOTES: Players and coaches from both teams wore the No. 42 as part of baseball's tribute to Jackie Robinson on the anniversary of his 1947 debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers, when Robinson broke the color barrier. ... Mets manager Jerry Manuel said before the game he is still considering dropping leadoff hitter Reyes to the No. 3 spot, a change that could come as soon as this weekend at St. Louis. ... Rockies LHP Jeff Francis, who started the season on the DL with a shoulder strain, played catch on the side before leaving for additional work in Tucson, Ariz., where he could begin throwing off the mound on Saturday. Huston Street (right shoulder inflammation, began a throwing regimen Thursday. ... The Rockies failed to hit a homer for the first time this season.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved