DENVER (AP) — On a grounder up the middle, Dillon Gee stuck his glove behind his back and somehow snared the ball.
“Lucky,” he conceded.
His pitching performance on the mound? Now that was skillful.
Gee threw six scoreless innings to tame the hottest-hitting team in the major leagues as the New York Mets salvaged the final game of their series against Colorado, beating the Rockies 5-1 Sunday.
Gee (3-1) kept the Rockies off balance to run his scoreless string to a career-best 16 innings. The righty, 13-6 with a 2.66 ERA since last May 30, surrendered six hits and struck out five, helping the Mets avoid being swept for the first time in a four-game series at Coors Field.
“Anytime you can hold that lineup, in this ballpark to no runs over six, you’re doing something right,” said David Wright, who had one of New York’s four RBI doubles.
Colorado entered leading the majors in homers, RBIs and average. But the Rockies couldn’t solve Gee, who kept the Rockies guessing among his curve, cutter and slider.
“It almost seems like the way he throws a pitch up it looks like a good pitch to hit, but it’s not a good pitch to swing at,” Nolan Arenado said. “Then you foul it up or pop it up.”
Sometimes, he gets a little fortunate, too. Like when D.J. LeMahieu sent a liner up the middle in the second that could’ve kept the inning going. Although Gee finished in a poor fielding position — his description — he was somehow able to grab it.
“Very nice,” said Wright, a two-time Gold Glove winner. “Not sure if it was a nice play or more luck. Regardless, he got the out.”
Precisely Gee’s feeling, too.
“You’ve got to have things like that for an outing like this,” Gee said. “Especially against this lineup.”
Jhoulys Chacin (0-1) was rather rusty his first start this season, lasting five innings and giving up four runs. Chacin spent the first month on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder.
Arenado extended his hitting streak to 24 games with a double in the fourth, the second-longest hitting streak in Rockies history. Justin Morneau accounted for Colorado’s only run with a ninth-inning homer off Jeurys Familia.
After wasting a 6-0 lead in Saturday’s 11-10 loss, the Mets jumped to a 4-0 lead after four innings. Wright, Chris Young and Daniel Murphy had run-scoring doubles, while Curtis Granderson chipped in an RBI single.
Lucas Duda added an RBI double in the seventh that increased the lead to 5-0.
Juan Lagares extended his hitting streak to a career-best 13 games with a single to start the game. Lagares originally had the day off, but was inserted into the starting lineup after Eric Young Jr. was scratched. Young was hit just below the right eye by a baseball in batting practice before the game. He’s day to day with a bruised cheek.
“Just a little swelling,” said Young, who had a shiner under his eye. “Fortunately, just a little headache right now.”
Gee found himself in a sticky situation in the seventh, but the bullpen bailed him out. With two on and no outs, Carlos Torres got two outs and Scott Rice recorded the third to wiggle out of the inning.
This was opening day for Chacin, who was shut down early in spring training after experiencing inflammation in his throwing shoulder. He was team’s top right-handed starter in 2013, going 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA.
Chacin struggled with his control throughout the game as he gave up eight hits and walked five. He threw 86 pitches before handing things over to the bullpen.
“I wasn’t commanding my fastball today and I wasn’t finishing my pitches, especially at the beginning,” Chacin said. “I felt better the last couple of innings.”
NOTES: After Gee went hitless in three at-bats, pitchers for the Mets are 0 for 51 starting the season. It’s the longest hitless streak to begin a season since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … Gee is 7-1 in his last 10 road starts. … Mets manager Terry Collins said Kyle Farnsworth remains his closer despite allowing Charlie Culberson’s two-run, game-ending homer Saturday. … Wright has a .384 average, 10 homers and 40 RBIs in 138 at-bats at Coors Field. … To make room for Chacin on the roster, the Rockies placed C Wilin Rosario (viral infection) on the 15-day DL. … OF Michael Cuddyer (strained left hamstring) began exercises in a pool.
BY PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
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