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Matz deals season-high 6 IP but bats fall flat

Mets' offense stifled by Bettis, shut out for 3rd time in 4 games
Special to MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The Mets didn't want to see Steven Matz unravel at the sight of a little adversity or a big traffic jam on the bases against the Rockies on Saturday night at Citi Field, like he did against the Cardinals in St. Louis during his previous start.

"His stuff is there," manager Mickey Callaway said before the Mets' 2-0 loss to the Rockies. "He can be an elite left-handed pitcher if he has the right mentality and can overcome things that happen during a game and just continue to do the small things that he has to do to pitch well."

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NEW YORK -- The Mets didn't want to see Steven Matz unravel at the sight of a little adversity or a big traffic jam on the bases against the Rockies on Saturday night at Citi Field, like he did against the Cardinals in St. Louis during his previous start.

"His stuff is there," manager Mickey Callaway said before the Mets' 2-0 loss to the Rockies. "He can be an elite left-handed pitcher if he has the right mentality and can overcome things that happen during a game and just continue to do the small things that he has to do to pitch well."

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Matz's last turn was skipped because of back stiffness. But this turn turned out to be a well-pitched one as the Mets continued their search for reliability in the rotation beyond Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.

Matz's back held up, and he threw a season-high six innings, allowing one run, three hits and one walk. Yet, he still lost because Chad Bettis and two relievers didn't allow any runs.

Bettis yielded six hits over seven innings, and Colorado extended its winning streak to a season-best four games and the Mets' losing streak to a season-worst five games.

Video: COL@NYM: Bettis strikes out 2 over 7 scoreless frames

"That was very encouraging," Callaway said about Matz's effort.

Otherwise, there wasn't much encouraging work for the Mets. Their record is down to 17-14, including 6-13 since their 11-1 start. After this combined six-hitter, the Mets have been shut out in three of the past four games. They haven't led since they won at San Diego last Sunday, which covers 45 innings.

"Nobody can really say if we're in trouble or not at this point in the season," Callaway said.

Matz, who fell to 1-3 but dropped his ERA from 4.98 to 4.23, yielded a long homer to Nolan Arenado in the first. But the 26-year-old Long Island lefty stranded a runner in scoring position in the second and the fourth.

Video: COL@NYM: Callaway talks Mets' recent skid

Callaway had given Matz a routine to follow in between pitches, a way not to dwell on anything that happens.

"I feel like it really helped me, just kind of slow myself down and realize what I was trying to do out there," Matz said. "The main thing is execute that pitch and keep my main focus on that.

"It was really just kind of take a step back. I was fixing my hat and kind of had my glove right by my side and then step on the mound, kind of just reset between every pitch, give myself a second [to think about] what I want to do, and just go out there and do it."

The Mets put just two runners in scoring position against Bettis (4-1) and one against Adam Ottavino in the eighth. David Dahl singled in a run for the Rockies (19-15) in the ninth. Wade Davis worked a 1-2-3 bottom half for his 13th save.

"Obviously disappointed," said Brandon Nimmo, who cut down Charlie Blackmon after he tagged and tried to reach third on a liner to center in the sixth. "But you also have to understand this is baseball and you do go through these times."

Video: COL@NYM: Nimmo nabs Blackmon at third to turn DP

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Arenado gave the Rockies the only run they needed with two outs in the first when he launched a ball that was projected by Statcast™ to travel 430 feet to the top of the Home Run Apple beyond the center-field fence. Exit velocity: 106 mph. Colorado leads the National League with 44 homers. But that stat isn't really a Coors Field creation. It includes an MLB-leading 31 homers on the road.

Video: COL@NYM: Arenado crushes a solo homer to center

SOUND SMART
Yoenis Cespedes didn't steal any bases in 81 games last season. He stole his third base in his 31st game this season, which matches his steals total from two years ago. The left fielder also threw out a runner at the plate in the ninth, his team-high fourth outfield assist. He debuted in the Majors in 2012 and owns 67 outfield assists, the most in MLB across this span.

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
In the ninth inning, the Rockies nearly added a third run on Dahl's RBI single, but Cespedes showed off his cannon arm to throw out Noel Cuevas attempting to score. The umpires reviewed the close play, but replays confirmed the out call on catcher Tomas Nido's tag.

Video: COL@NYM: Cespedes nabs Cuevas at home after review

HE SAID IT
"In baseball these spurts happen. I think we have to stick with our processes and our routines. That's the way to counteract what's happening. ... We try to stay even keel and go out there and play baseball the right way. If we do that, things will even themselves out." -- Callaway, on the Mets' skid

UP NEXT
Syndergaard (2-1, 3.10) will look to get off to a better start Sunday in the 1:10 ET series finale against the Rockies -- after he found himself trailing 3-0 against the Braves just four batters into the game on Tuesday. The 25-year-old righty didn't allow another run over his six-inning outing, but he gave up a career-high-tying 10 hits in the 3-2 loss. Lefty Kyle Freeland (1-4, 4.24) is scheduled to start for Colorado.

Brian Heyman is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York.

New York Mets, Steven Matz