Jeff Francoeur Extends Hit Streak to Nine Games, Mets Shut Out Rockies 5-0

DENVER — 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 Francoeur, 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
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."

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.

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