The New York Mets look to continue their dominance over the Colorado Rockies at Shea Stadium and win their eighth straight at home for the first time in more than six years when their three-game set concludes Sunday.
The Mets (74-48) rallied to defeat the Rockies 7-4 on Saturday, improving to 12-1 at home against Colorado (59-64) since the start of the 2003 season.
New York was held without a hit for 4 2-3 innings, but used a six-run sixth inning—which featured four walks, two Rockies errors and a passed ball—to take the lead.
“Any time you come back in a game like that you have to rely on taking a walk, battling and scratching and clawing and getting guys on base,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “We do that. We’ve done it a lot this year but for me we can do a better job at times of taking that approach.”
The streak is the longest since an eight-game run from April 18-25, 2000.
The Mets finished that season tied with San Francisco for the best home record at 55-26 before losing the World Series in five games to the New York Yankees.
This year, the Mets have the second-best home record in the NL at 37-22, trailing only the Los Angeles Dodgers at 39-26. New York also has the largest lead among the six division leaders, leading second-place Philadelphia by 14 games.
Orlando Hernandez (8-9, 5.54 ERA) looks to get back on track after his worst start of the season when he takes the mound for New York in the finale.
Hernandez went 4-0 with a 3.44 ERA in six starts from July 5-Aug. 10, before giving up season highs of 11 runs and 10 hits in four innings of an 11-4 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday.
“It was just not a good night,” Hernandez said.
The right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA and a .198 opponent batting average in his last four starts at Shea Stadium.
Hernandez is 2-1 with a 5.74 ERA in three career starts against the Rockies with the loss coming on April 11 when he was with Arizona.
Colorado counters with Jason Jennings (7-9, 3.34), who has been one of the NL’s toughest pitchers to face over the past two months in spite of his record.
Jennings leads the NL with a 1.97 ERA since June 15, and his .207 opponent batting average is second-best in the NL in that span behind the .206 posted by San Francisco’s Matt Cain. Despite these dominant numbers, Jennings has gone only 3-3 in 12 starts over that stretch.
He allowed one run and five hits in eight innings, but did not factor in the Rockies’ 2-1, 18-inning loss on Tuesday.
“It was a crazy night,” said Jennings, who is 1-1 with a 1.42 ERA in his last five starts. “Three runs scored in 18 innings is pretty impressive pitching.”
Jennings has pitched well against the Mets, but has not faced them in a more than two years. He is 4-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five career starts against New York, but last faced them on Aug. 17, 2004.
The Rockies have lost four of their last five games, and trail Cincinnati by four games in the wild card race. They also are tied with San Francisco for fourth in the NL West, six games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
Garrett Atkins homered in his second straight game to drive in three in Saturday’s loss. He is hitting .333 (13-for-39)with four homers, 14 RBIs and seven runs in his last nine games.
Todd Helton is just 1-for-8 this series, but is 5-for-6 with two doubles and a homer in his career against Hernandez.