Rockies' rallies come up short, Mets win 6-5 in 11
DENVER (AP) Todd Helton got the pitch he was looking for and changed the game. Too bad for the Colorado Rockies, they couldn't fully take advantage.
Helton's pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning tied the score. Carlos Gonzalez's solo homer in the 10th drew them even with the New York Mets once again.
But Ike Davis singled home the go-ahead run in the 11th inning and the Mets overcame the two shots allowed by their bullpen to beat Colorado 6-5 Sunday.
"It was definitely painful after we come back, after Helton hit that big home run to put us back in the game," Gonzalez said.
Helton was given the day off, but when his team started to rally he went to the batting cage to get ready if he was called upon to pinch hit. He guessed he would face left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak, so he set the machine to face left-handed pitches.
It paid off when he sent Byrdak's 2-2 breaking ball off the facing of the second deck in right.
"I was looking for it and got it," Helton said. "I was a little concerned because he blew that one fastball by me earlier. I was concerned about chasing up and I was hoping he'd throw me that pitch in that situation."
The Mets went ahead 5-4 in the 10th on an RBI double by Kirk Nieuwenhuis but Gonzalez hit a 2-0 splitter that skipped off the top of the scoreboard in right to tie it.
"It was special, but at the same time we didn't get what we wanted," Gonzalez said.
"That was one of the more guttier efforts since I've been managing here," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "The disappointing thing is we came up short."
With the Mets in front 4-0 and Mets starter Johan Santana in sight of his first win in nearly two years, the Rockies rallied to tie it in the eighth.
Byrdak came on to face Helton, who connected for his sixth career grand slam and his fourth homer of the season.
A pumped-up Helton flipped his bat as he began his trot and slapped hands with a gaggle of teammates around home plate before emerging from the dugout moments later to take a curtain call.
"It was a prolific home run," Tracy said. "One swing you go from 4-0 to 4-4."
Helton's slam was the second by the Rockies in the series. Ramon Hernandez also hit a grand slam in Friday's 18-9 win over the Mets.
Santana, who missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery, gave up two hits, walked three and struck out five in six scoreless innings.
Starting for the first time at Coors Field, Santana still has not given up an earned run to the Rockies in 22 innings over three career starts.
The Mets scored three runs in the first inning, the first time New York scored while Santana was in the game during any of his five starts this season.
The sequence was punctuated by Wright's two-run double and an RBI single by Hairston, though Moyer managed to wriggle out of a one-out bases loaded jam by fanning Thole and retiring Santana on a fly ball.
"David Wright, we couldn't get him out," Tracy said. "He wasn't trying to do too much of anything other than take what was given to him and get on base. His last at-bat he just took a ball up the middle on a 3-1 pitch."
NOTES: Helton has two pinch-hit home runs in his career. His first was against Cincinnati on Aug. 25, 1997. ... New Broncos QB Peyton Manning visited both the Mets and Rockies clubhouses before the game. Manning is a friend of Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey and is close with Helton, who was the backup quarterback to Manning when they were both in college at Tennessee. ... New York OF Andres Torres (strained left calf) completed a two-game minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo and was to join the Mets on Monday in Houston, where it's expected he'll be activated from the 15-day disabled list. ... Rockies pitcher Drew Pomeranz, who left his start Friday after four innings because of tightness in his left forearm, is on course to make his next scheduled start Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... Juan Nicasio (1-0) is slated to pitch the series opener against Aaron Harang (1-1) and the Dodgers on Monday as the Rockies continue their nine-game homestand at Coors Field. ... Dickey (2-1) will be going for his third win of the season when he starts the Mets' series opener at Houston against Bud Norris (1-1).
Updated April 29, 2012