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NYM@COL: Pelfrey pounds a two-run double for the lead

DENVER -- Mike Pelfrey's formula for success is no great secret. The Mets saw it last year, both before and after his miserable month of June. They saw it at the end of 2008, when Pelfrey provided the first real prolonged display of his big league potential. And he's showing it again now, getting outs both with precision and regularity.

"He's just challenging hitters more," third baseman David Wright said. "He's going right after guys instead of trying to pick a little bit."

When Pelfrey can command his sinker, as he did in Tuesday's 4-3 Mets victory over the Rockies at Coors Field, he can throw it by some of the best big league hitters. He has done it before. He will do it again.

The Mets just need him to do it with consistency.

"It certainly is good to see him pitching like that," manager Terry Collins said.

In addition to providing the game's biggest offensive blow -- more on that later -- Pelfrey stymied the Rockies for 6 2/3 innings, helping soften the blow of an injury to Ike Davis. Though Troy Tulowitzki, Seth Smith and Carlos Gonzalez all touched him for solo homers (none of those on sinkers), Pelfrey allowed just three other hits -- all singles -- the rest of the night. Had rain not stalled the game for 50 minutes, Pelfrey almost certainly would have completed at least seven innings for the third time in four starts.

"I think the biggest thing is, mechanically, I felt good," Pelfrey said. "When I'm not rushing, when I'm not trying to do too much, it allows me to get on top and throw the other [pitches] for strikes."

Pelfrey was not rushing Tuesday. He was not trying to do too much. He was simply throwing strikes, retiring batters, throwing more strikes and retiring more batters.

The Mets gave him some early support on Davis' two-run single in the first inning, but it was Pelfrey who provided the most significant blow, doubling home two runs in the fourth off Rockies starter Jason Hammel. It was Pelfrey's first hit of the season and his first extra-base hit since 2009, and it was a source of consternation for the Rockies.

"The double by him is one of those plays where the momentum really switches to the other dugout," Tulowitzki said. "You're not expecting the pitcher to put a double in the gap, let alone two RBIs in a big situation."

Pelfrey was hardly expecting it, either.

"I'm terrible at the plate," he said, laughing. "I went up there thinking I was going to swing at the first pitch. Luckily, it found the gap."

For the Mets, it was not the only notable hit. Davis' two-run single in the first inning also loomed significant considering the context: One night earlier, the Mets finished 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, dropping to 11-for-77 in such situations over their previous eight games and prompting Collins to harp on the matter Tuesday afternoon. The Mets' 2-for-6 performance with men in scoring position Tuesday may not have entirely cured those woes, but it certainly helped.

Then again, the Mets could not consider Davis' hit without also considering what transpired in the fourth. Chasing after Tulowitzki's pop fly, Davis and Wright collided in the infield, knocking Davis out of the game with a leg injury. Though the Mets were not certain as to the nature or severity of the injury immediately following Tuesday's game, it was enough to put a bit of a damper on their first win over the Rockies in six tries this season.

Throughout the past five weeks, Davis has been their offensive anchor, picking up much of Wright's slack and driving in Jose Reyes with consistency. The Mets cannot afford to lose him now.

But if anything could comfort them in the aftermath of that injury, it was the performance of Pelfrey. The Mets know what he means to their success, considering the absence of Johan Santana and the lack of a real ace on the pitching staff. Considering his inconsistencies throughout his career, Pelfrey may not be the ultimate answer. But he is still an integral part of this team, and the Mets still need him to continue pitching as he did Tuesday.

If he does, they know, the wins will come. Comments