Mike Pelfrey returned to early season form, outpitching Ubaldo Jimenez for seven innings, and Jose Reyes hit a sacrifice fly to help the New York Mets kick off a crucial homestand with a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
The Mets moved back to .500 (56-56) with a much-needed win after returning from a 2-4 road trip against division rivals that helped drop them 8½ games behind Atlanta in the NL East. They were relying on Pelfrey to bounce back from a horrible seven-start winless stretch while facing the Rockies' 17-game winner. And he did — brilliantly.
Pelfrey (11-6) had been so bad since late June that at one point manager Jerry Manuel considered skipping his turn in the rotation. But Pelfrey worked on his arm speed between starts to correct a discrepancy between his fastball and off-speed pitches and he looked as good as he did in going 10-2 to open the season.
On Tuesday, he went seven innings for the first time since June 19, and gave up four hits. He struck out four and walked one while throwing a career-high 122 pitches.
The Rockies, who had only one runner reach third base, have won only twice in their last 11 road games.
After failing to capitalize on a bases-loaded situation in the sixth, the Mets broke through against Jimenez in the seventh. Chris Carter walked leading off and Josh Thole doubled off the wall in right field before Ruben Tejada struck out. Carlos Beltran, out of the starting lineup for a scheduled day off, pinch-hit for Pelfrey and was intentionally walked.
Reyes then hit a long fly ball to right field that scored pinch-runner Jeff Francoeur.
Fernando Martinez made a diving catch in left field to help Hisanori Takahashi pitch a 1-2-3 eighth. Francisco Rodriguez was perfect in the ninth for his 25th save in 30 chances, completing the Mets' 16th shutout, most in the majors.
Jimenez (17-3) was the more dominant pitcher early. His pitches routinely reached the high 90s (mph) and popped loudly into catcher Miguel Olivo's glove as an unenthusiastic crowd watched him not allow a hit until Martinez reached on an infield single leading off the fourth.
The right-hander gave up a run and four hits for the third straight start. He struck out eight and walked four — two intentionally.
NOTES: Rockies closer Huston Street missed the game to be with his wife, who gave birth to their first child, Ripken Ray, on Monday night in Denver. ... Rockies manager Jim Tracy said there is no timetable for the return of RHP Aaron Cook (right big toe). Cook went on the DL on Aug. 5 after three poor starts. Tracy said Cook was scheduled for a bullpen session Tuesday, but would not return until "he was completely confident in repeating time after time what he's done very successfully for a long period of time." ... Mets 3B David Wright went 0 for 3 with an intentional walk and has two hits in his last 29 at-bats.