NEW YORK (AP) — Hot-hitting Troy Tulowitzki belted his major league-leading seventh homer during the second game of a doubleheader, and the Colorado Rockies pounded the New York Mets 9-4 on Thursday to wrap up a four-game series sweep.
Tulowitzki also homered in the opener before the Rockies’ bullpen held on in a wild ninth inning for a 6-5 victory. The sweet-swinging shortstop terrorized New York pitching all series, going deep each game and finishing 10 for 16 with eight RBIs.
The Rockies (10-2), off to the best start in franchise history, have won five straight and 10 of 11 overall, the lone defeat coming against Pittsburgh in extra innings.
The Mets (4-9) are headed the other way, losing five straight and eight of nine.
Greg Reynolds (1-0) won Game 1 despite a couple shaky innings, and Jorge De La Rosa (2-0) held on long enough in the second game for the Rockies’ offense to deliver his win.
Colorado had been 6-23 on the road against the Mets dating to 2003, and had not won three straight in Queens since 1994 — back when Shea Stadium was still standing.
The Rockies turned that trend around, even after spotting the Mets 2-0 leads in both games Thursday. In fact, New York has scored first in six straight games while winning just once.
The Mets scored twice in the opener before Seth Smith got a run back in the fifth. The Rockies went ahead for good in the sixth inning when Scott Hairston inexplicably stopped chasing Jose Morales’ fly ball to right, letting it bounce off the warning track for a two-run double.
Colorado added three more runs in the seventh when Carlos Gonzalez drove a 2-2 pitch from R.A. Dickey (1-2) into the right-field seats for his first home run of the year. Tulowitzki followed the two-run shot with a homer of his own off Bobby Parnell.
Jose Reyes homered for the Mets in the eighth, making it 6-3, and Huston Street came on in the ninth to close things out. He gave up a two-run shot to Hairston, a walk to Josh Thole and a single to pinch hitter Carlos Beltran before manager Jim Tracy brought in Matt Lindstrom.
He got Reyes to ground into a fielder’s choice, then walked Daniel Murphy to load the bases for David Wright, who flied out to the warning track in right field to end the game.
The second game didn’t have nearly as much drama.
New York again took a 2-0 lead on the first career RBIs for longtime minor league catcher Mike Nickeas, after a strange play in which a fan hanging over the railing appeared to touch a drive by Hairston that hit off the orange line on the fence that marks a home run.
The umpire crew ruled the play a double, then upheld the decision after watching a video replay. Nickeas cleared the bases anyway with his double moments later.
The Rockies tied it in the third on Dexter Fowler’s RBI single and Gonzalez’s run-scoring fielder’s choice, and the Mets pulled back ahead in the fourth on Reyes’ two-run single.
Colorado finally roughed up Chris Capuano (1-1) in the sixth inning.
Tulowitzki led off with a solo shot to left, Todd Helton added a one-out single, and Ryan Spilborghs singled to right on a ball that Beltran badly misplayed. Iannetta walked to load the bases for De La Rosa, who chopped a grounder to Brad Emaus at second base.
He fumbled with the ball and could only get the runner at second, allowing the inning to continue and Helton to score the tying run.
The miscue, one of several by the Mets’ defense, proved costly.
Fowler lashed a single through the left side of the infield to give Colorado a 5-4 lead and knock Capuano from the game. Taylor Buchholz then served up a plumb pitch to Jonathan Herrera, who smacked a three-run homer to right field, the second of his career.
The Rockies added another run off Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth inning, while their bullpen put up zeros the rest of the way.
Notes: The Rockies optioned Reynolds to Triple-A Colorado Springs and purchased the contract of RHP Alan Johnson between games. They also transferred Aaron Cook to the 60-day DL. … Mets RHP Chris Young (right biceps tendinitis) threw a bullpen session before the game. His start Friday in Atlanta has been pushed back to Sunday.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)