NEW YORK – For five innings, everything was pretty perfect for Chris Young.
Then a bunt and the whole ballgame slipped away from him and the New York Mets.
Young struck out the first four batters and set down 15 in a row at the start Tuesday night before the Colorado Rockies turned a misplay into a big inning and a 6-2 victory.
The Mets fell to 11-26 since All-Star break and a season-worst nine games under .500.
Manager Terry Collins, ejected earlier for arguing, met with his team after the loss — he said it was the third time this year he addressed the club in this manner. He said he didn't yell at his players, but stressed the need to raise their focus.
"We have not packed it in," Collins said. "I told them that people look at them from the outside and that the perception is that we packed it in."
"If it looks like they're not prepared, then it's my fault. I told them that my teams play with energy, enthusiasm, discipline, play fundamentally sound baseball. We're going to find some pieces that can do those things," he said.
The Mets lost their third straight, giving away another run on a botched rundown.
"It's inexcusable to not make those plays in the game. It points back to the fact that they weren't ready to. You have to be able to anticipate, and be ready in any circumstance. If you can't, you're either too tired and you need to come out of the game — or your head is not in the game," Collins said.
New York dropped to 2-12 at Citi Field since the break.
"Everybody in this clubhouse can see it, we're playing poorly. I don't think we're a bad team, but we are playing very bad right now," star David Wright said.
"You watch our games and you see what we see, we need to do a better job executing," he said. "We got away from doing the things we did in the first half, we need to do that to be successful."
And right now, that's not occurring.
"The little things matter because with our offense we're not going to outslug teams. On defense we need to put zero after zero on the board," he said. "Yeah, I think the effort is there. Physical mistakes happen, but mental mistakes are unacceptable. It's the little things we need to be on point with."
DJ LeMahieu opened the Rockies sixth with a grounder up the middle that Ruben Tejada gloved, but the shortstop had no play. It was an infield single, and the crowd gave Young (3-7) a nice cheer for his perfect pitching to that point.
Jonathan Herrera followed with a single that put runners at the corners. Chacin bunted and Young overthrew first base, allowing the tying run to score. Charlie Blackmon and Dexter Fowler hit RBI singles and a sacrifice fly by Ramon Hernandez made it 4-1.
"That bunt cost us the game. It's frustrating," Young said. "We're here to win. I'm certainly frustrated because I helped contribute to a loss."
Young said Collins' postgame comments were true to the mark.
"He was right in everything that he said. We have to play better, myself included," he said.
Jhoulys Chacin made an impressive return from an extended absence and the Rockies backed him with a pair of sharp defensive plays.
Chacin (1-3) had not pitched in the majors since May 1 because of inflammation in his right shoulder. He came off the disabled list earlier in the day and held the Mets to one run and four hits in six innings, ending his seven-game losing streak that began last September.
Fowler made a sparkling catch and hit a pair of RBI singles as the Rockies won their third in a row.
Chacin twice got help on balls hit hard by Wright.
Fowler jumped to the top of the wall in left-center to snare Wright's drive leading off the second. The Mets' cleanup man later singled on Chacin's final pitch, but left fielder Andrew Brown made a strong throw to cut down Tejada at the plate.
Chacin walked none and struck out two. He threw 73 pitches, two under manager Jim Tracy's proposed limit in Colorado's four-man rotation.
Chacin also spun after Andres Torres broke early from second base in the fifth, making a throw that trapped him. Torres prolonged a rundown and was originally ruled safe as he made a dive back into second, then was called out. Collins was ejected for arguing.
Torres hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh as the Mets scored against relievers Matt Reynolds and Josh Roenicke, ending an 18-inning scoreless streak by the Colorado bullpen.
Fowler singled home a run in the eighth. In the ninth, with Brown on third and one out, Herrera hit a grounder and first baseman Ike Davis threw home. Brown retreated toward third, reversed course chased by Wright and scored on a high toss.
Daniel Murphy's sacrifice fly put the Mets ahead in the fourth.
NOTES: The Mets did not announce the results of the MRI on LHP Johan Santana's stiff back. An update was expected Wednesday, a day before his next scheduled start. ... Young is 0-4 at home this season. ... Chacin was 1-3 in minor league rehabilitation assignments before rejoining the Rockies.