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Mets begin set in frigid Colorado

The New York Mets enter Coors Field to begin a four-game series with the surging Colorado Rockies. However, it's expected to be a cold event in Denver, as forecasts called for Monday's temperatures to be in the 30s with snowfall expected.

The Rockies opened a six-game road swing by losing three straight at San Francisco last week, but they rebounded with a three-game sweep over the Padres this weekend to salvage a split of the trip.

Todd Helton entered Sunday's game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and broke a scoreless tie with a two-run home run, which marked the team's 21st homer through 12 games.

"It's the same as whenever I hit," Helton said about his approach as a pinch- hitter. "Get back, see the ball and try to put a good swing on it. The only difference is you only get one shot. That's what makes it so difficult. I'm not good at it."

The Rockies' offense managed only two other hits for the game, although Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa was pretty stingy himself. De La Rosa tossed six shutout innings and allowed only two hits to go along with seven strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Mets are in second place in the National League East but are staring at a 3 1/2-game deficit between them and the one-loss Braves. New York took two straight from the Twins before Sunday's series finale was postponed due to inclement weather. In Saturday's 4-2 victory, starter Matt Harvey took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.

The Mets hope to get a similar performance on Monday from right-hander Dillon Gee, who lasted only three innings against the Phillies last Tuesday. Gee was tagged for seven earned runs on 10 hits in that outing, and he surrendered home runs to three straight batters in the third inning.

"I mean, he'd miss his target by two feet," manager Terry Collins said after the game. "It was quite obvious he didn't make any pitches when he needed to."

Colorado is opening a 10-game homestand on Monday. The Rockies will hand the ball to Juan Nicasio, who is coming off two straight injury-plagued seasons and was roughed up by San Francisco in his last outing. Most concerning about that performance were the four walks Nicasio issued.

"You've got to have some patience with a guy like Juan, because the ceiling is so high," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's at a point in his career where there's a lot of growth and development left, still. It's certainly worth living through some of those moments, because the upside is so big."

On this the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier Major League Baseball is commemorating this special occasion by having all players and on-field personnel once again wear the Hall of Famer's No. 42.