Hot Rox fight off Coors' chill for sixth straight
Garland superb for seven; bats get to Mets' bullpen for insurance
DENVER -- The snow stopped, and the sun finally appeared. But it was 28 degrees when Jon Garland took the mound Thursday for the Rockies, tying the franchise record for the lowest temperature to start a home game.
The cold didn't bother Garland, who became the first Rockies starter to pitch seven innings this season as Colorado beat the Mets, 11-3, for its sixth straight victory. The Rockies, who have started a season 6-0 at home for the first time in franchise history, blew the game open by scoring six runs with two outs in the seventh. The Rockies reached season-highs in runs and hits (17), and while sweeping three games from the Mets, the Rockies outscored them 28-14.
"The thing I like about this lineup is we've scored a lot of runs late," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "The game is close, and then it seems like seventh, eighth or ninth, we've been putting crooked numbers up there and putting some games away. It's just tough for a pitcher to make quality pitches throughout the lineup. If they don't, there's a possibility the ball will end up in the seats."
The teams were snowed out Monday, played a split doubleheader Tuesday -- which the Rockies swept -- and were snowed out again Wednesday before Garland stifled the Mets. He made it through seven innings on just 83 pitches, including 54 strikes, and allowed two runs.
"I was surprised at how fast my hand got cold, because it didn't seem that cold there with the sun," Garland said. "Besides that, body felt fine."
Garland, who was signed during the final week of Spring Training after not making the Mariners' rotation and getting his release from Seattle, has pitched at least six innings in his three starts, each of which the Rockies have won. He beat San Diego in his first two starts before facing the Mets, improving his record to 2-0 and lowering his ERA to 3.32 by throwing a lot of offspeed stuff.
"I think the key to the curveball was early on, it was being called for a strike," Garland said. "So from that point, they couldn't just take it, had to respect it. I think I threw enough fastballs in there for strikes to keep them off balance."
Josh Rutledge homered in the fourth for the Rockies, who also got homers in the eighth from Troy Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler. Carlos Gonzalez, who went 3-for-5 with a double, scored twice and drove in a run in the first, as did Tulowitzki in the sixth. The Rockies scored their first three runs off Mets starter Jon Niese, who worked six innings.
"A place like this, a lineup like that, hold them to three runs, I thought Jon threw the ball very good," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Due to weather, he didn't have a good feel for his curveball, but he made pitches with it, used his changeup effectively. I thought he pitched very well."
In the Rockies' six-run seventh, Wilin Rosario drove in the first two with a soft single to right-center off Scott Atchison, and Todd Helton followed with a two-run double off the scoreboard in right field. The double -- the 573rd of Helton's career, moving him past Ivan Rodriguez into 20th place all-time -- came with two outs to increase the Rockies' lead to 5-2.
The rally continued with RBI singles from Chris Nelson and pinch-hitter Reid Brignac.
The Rockies are 11-4 and have scored five or more runs in 11 games, winning 10 of them. This was also the eighth time they have had 10 or more hits in a game -- they are 7-1 in those games. They are batting .297 with 25 home runs.
For his part, Garland is grateful he can be the beneficiary of the Rockies' lineup instead of facing it.
"You can see the trust they have in the guy behind them," Garland said, "because there's really [not anyone] pressing to get a hit or get on, because there's an understanding that guy behind you is just as hot or hotter and he's going to do it. And when that happens, you just get more relaxed, get a little more free and easy and that athleticism comes through and you tend to get more hits. And I think that's what's happened so far early on."