Colorado rocks the Mets

June 21, 2008 9:21:23 PM PDT
Ubaldo Jimenez grew up in the Dominican Republic idolizing Pedro Martinez. On Saturday night, it was Martinez who did the admiring.

Jimenez earned his first win in more than two months and Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe homered on Martinez's first two pitches in the fifth inning, touching off a six-run burst that led the Colorado Rockies over the New York Mets 7-1.

Jimenez (2-7) limited the Mets to one run and two hits over eight innings. He also singled twice and scored a run against his childhood hero.

"It was great," Jimenez said. "He's been my hero since I was little, so it was awesome."

Jimenez watched from his home in Santo Cristobal as Martinez became one of the game's most dominant pitchers.

"He was always competitive out there and you could see in his face he could get anyone out," Jimenez said.

Early on, Martinez (2-1) looked like that pitcher as he cruised through the first four innings before the Rockies broke loose. He'd struck out five before Atkins homered over the left-field wall and Hawpe hit a drive to right.

Martinez lasted just 4 1-3 innings, his shortest outing since coming off the disabled list June 3.

"For some reason, I bring the best out of young pitchers," Martinez said. "I've done it for many pitchers and I'm glad I've done it for a fellow Dominican, who has a bright future."

After Atkins and Hawpe homered, the Rockies kept hitting. Troy Tulowitzki, who returned from the disabled list Friday night, followed with a double. Jimenez singled to deep shortstop and Willy Taveras hit an RBI single that put Colorado ahead 3-1.

Jeff Baker, trying for a home run in his fifth straight game, hit an RBI double off the right-field wall. Matt Holliday delivered a two-run single up the middle for a 6-1 lead.

Claudio Vargas relieved Martinez and got Todd Helton to ground into an inning-ending double play. In the seventh, Helton doubled home Taveras.

"He was cruising," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said of Martinez. "He was probably the best that we had seen at this point. All we needed to do was manage maybe a couple more innings or another inning and he would have been out of there with a very positive outing."

Once he got the lead, Jimenez didn't falter. He made quick work of the Mets in the sixth and held them to one hit over his last seven innings of work.

"They scratched out one run two hitters into the game and then he throws all zeros," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "Nothing was hit real hard. He was fantastic tonight. Very impressive outing."

The Mets, playing for the fourth time Manuel, got off to a quick start. Jose Reyes led off the game with a triple into the right-field corner and scored on Luis Castillo's sacrifice fly.

Martinez said he hopes Jimenez can build on this outing.

"I'm glad he did it and I hope he does it more often," he said. "I just hopes he takes the same mentality that he took today in this game into the next one, even if I'm not on the mound."

Notes: Taveras stole his NL-leading 35th base. He also set his single-season high in steals. ... The Rockies announced that a seventh-inning error charged to Holliday on Friday night was taken away. As a result, Carlos Beltran's single was changed to a double.

... Rockies RHP Kip Wells threw 60 pitches in a simulated game Saturday. Manager Clint Hurdle said Wells, who had a blood clot removed from his right hand May 6, will travel with the team to Kansas City and throw out of the bullpen. ... The Mets signed OF Javier Rodriguez, their second-round pick in this month's draft. He will be assigned to the rookie level Gulf Coast Mets. ... Mets C Brian Schneider got hit with a foul on his left hand in the first inning and left after the seventh inning. He was scheduled to have an X-ray done late Saturday night.