Mets rally to 7th straight win

July 11, 2008 8:35:21 PM PDT
The pain rippled through Damion Easley's leg as he twisted away from an inside pitch. The New York Mets second baseman needed to take a few extra moments before stepping back in the batter's box. Easley bought enough time so that when he saw a fastball left over the plate, he was able to turn into it just fine. His two-out solo homer in the eighth inning carried the Mets to their seventh straight win, a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.

"At that moment, I was just trying to go back up the middle and extend the inning," Easley said of his drive to left-center on a 3-2 pitch from reliever Taylor Buchholz (3-3).

New York allowed three hits for the fourth consecutive game, the first time that's happened in franchise history.

The Rockies were left lamenting their many missed opportunities. They loaded the bases in the sixth, seventh and eighth as Mets pitchers struggled with control, walking seven of the nine batters who reached base. But Colorado couldn't get any runs out of it.

"I'll tell you what: We're looking at the wrong thing if we're focused on Buchholz right here," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "We left too many men on base, too many opportunities, it never should've come down to that."

Easley has been bothered by a sore left quadriceps since early last week and will probably get to rest it Saturday. But not before he hit his third homer of the season.

The veteran has been pressed into action because of an injury to Luis Castillo. He is batting .422 over his last 13 games after going 2-for-3 with a walk Friday.

Pedro Feliciano (2-2) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth for the victory. Closer Billy Wagner had a perfect ninth for his 21st save in 27 chances. They combined with fellow relievers Aaron Heilman and Duaner Sanchez for three scoreless innings; the bullpen has not allowed a run in 13 1-3 innings.

Starter Oliver Perez has given up just two runs over his last three starts, but has two no-decisions and one victory to show for it. With an effective fastball, he gave up one run and two hits Friday, walking six and striking out seven.

Perez left after the first two batters reached in the seventh. Heilman walked the bases loaded with one out, but struck out Willy Taveras and Clint Barmes to wriggle out of the jam.

Perez didn't allow a hit through 4 2-3 innings, then lost the no-hitter and the shutout on one pitch. Brad Hawpe homered to right to give the Rockies a 1-0 lead.

Hawpe then helped the Mets get the run back in the bottom of the inning, bobbling Brian Schneider's single to right with one out. Perez moved Schneider to third, and Jose Reyes' two-out single tied the score.

Rockies All-Star Aaron Cook gave up one run in six innings but failed to become the first pitcher in franchise history to win 12 games before the break.

Teammate Matt Holliday's 14-game hitting streak ended as he went 0-for-3 with a walk. He had hit in 24 straight games against the Mets, dating to July 25, 2005.

The Mets' seven-game winning streak is their first since Aug. 17-24, 2006. Players kept talking about how relaxed they've been lately.

"It was probably a long time coming, to get that relaxed," Easley said. "It's one thing to be relaxed, like you're sitting on the couch. It's another thing to be relaxed and play with confidence. That's what we're doing right now."

Notes: The Mets recalled C Robinson Cancel from Triple-A New Orleans and sent down OF Chris Aguila. ... The Rockies recalled RHP Ryan Speier from Triple-A Colorado Springs and sent down LHP Cedrick Bowers. ... Mets 1B Carlos Delgado was struck in the chest by a batting practice ball hit by Schneider and immediately headed into the clubhouse. He remained in the starting lineup and said before the game he was fine. He went 1-for-4. ... Rehabbing Mets RHP Orlando Hernandez allowed two runs and three hits with five strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings with Class-A St. Lucie on Friday.