DENVER -- Ike Davis has slowly been climbing out of a season-long slump. And he made further progress Sunday with a three-hit game, the last a single in the 11th that gave the Mets a 6-5 win over the Rockies and erased the damage of dramatic, game-tying homers by Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton.
Davis entered the game hitting .141 (10-for-71), but he had a single and double in his first two at-bats and lined hard to second to end the ninth. His opposite-field single off Matt Belisle gave the Mets the victory in the series rubber game, which lasted 4 hours, 1 minute.
Gonzalez homered with one out in the 10th inning off Mets closer Frank Francisco, tying the game and nullifying a big hit by Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the top of the inning. Gonzalez lined a ball just over the out-of-town scoreboard for his fourth homer of the season.
Nieuwenhuis moved to Denver in the seventh grade and became a Rockies fan, whose favorite player was Helton. In the eighth inning, Nieuwenhuis marveled as Helton came off the Rockies bench and tied the game with a pinch hit grand slam.
But in the 10th, Nieuwenhuis belted an opposite-field double to the left field corner that gave the Mets a 5-4 lead, short-lived as it turned out.
Mike Baxter, who had opened the inning with a pinch hit single, scored on the hit as shortstop Troy Tulowitzki bobbled the throw from Gonzalez and was unable to get off a relay throw to the plate.
As a rule, Helton isn't in the Rockies lineup on Sunday. Manager Jim Tracy rests the 38-year-old Helton with an eye toward long haul and having him fresh late in the season.
Helton was again on the Rockies bench Sunday, giving Tracy another late-inning weapon. He turned to Helton with the bases loaded and two out in the eighth, and Helton hit a grand slam off Mets left-hander Tim Byrdak that kept Johan Santana from winning his first game of the season after he gave up two hits in six scoreless innings.
The grand slam was the sixth of Helton's career and his first as a pinch hitter. His only other pinch hit home run was Aug. 25, 1997, against the Reds.
In the ninth, the Mets got a runner to third against closer Rafael Betancourt with one out on a walk, a ground out and Betancourt's balk. But Betancourt struck out Scott Hariston, and Davis's sharp liner went right to second baseman Marco Scutaro.
After Miguel Batista pitched a scoreless seventh in relief of Santana, the Mets turned to Jon Rauch. Before the game, Mets manager Terry Collins said Rauch would pitch, since he last worked Wednesday.
Rauch gave up a one-out single up the middle to Dexter Fowler and walked Gonzalez. Tulowitzki tapped back to Rauch, moving Fowler to third, and Rauch walked Michael Cuddyer to load the bases and set the stage for Byrdak and Helton to enter the game. Helton was hitless in three previous at-bats with two strikeouts against Byrdak.
Coors Field can be a daunting, difficult place to pitch, particularly the first time. Santana started there for the first time Sunday and handled the altitude, the spacious and the Rockies with utter ease.
He ran his scoreless streak against the Rockies to 22 innings in three career starts.
The Mets scored three runs in the first against Jamie Moyer, who at 49 years, 163 days, was trying to extend his record for being the oldest pitcher to win a major league game. Moyer made it through five innings, matching his shortest start of the season.
Santana gave up a single in the first and a double in the fifth. He allowed three runners to reach third base and stranded six.
Santana, who threw 90 pitches, 53 for strikes, issued the second of his two walks to Gonzalez to open the fourth. He stole second, took third on a ground out but was stranded as Santana got Cuddyer to ground out and struck out Jason Giambi. He walked away in disgust after taking a fastball for strike three when looking for Santana's vaunted changeup.
The Rockies threatened in the fifth when Chris Nelson doubled with one out, breaking a string of 13 hitless at-bats. Niewenhuis made a diving catch in left-center, robbing pinch hitter Jonathan Herrera of an extra-base hit. Santana then speared Scutaro's hard comebacker to end the inning.
Second baseman Daniel Murphy let Gonzalez's ball go through his legs with one out in the sixth. Santana walked Cuddyer with two out but got Giambi to ground out.
Moyer threw 109 pitches in five innings, finishing with season highs in hits (11) allowed and strikeouts (7). He needed 39 pitches to get through the first when the Mets batted around and scored three runs but left the bases loaded. Niewenhuis and Ruben Tejada began the inning with soft singles to center, and with one out, David Wright lined a two-run double over third base and just inside the foul line.
Moyer then walked Lucas Duda and gave up a run-scoring single to Scott Hairston. Ike Davis followed with a single to load the bases, but Moyer struck out Josh Thole and got Santana to fly out.
The first-inning outburst with Santana on the mound was unusual for the Mets. They had not scored a run while he had been on the mound for 18 innings in his four previous starts.
After his rough first inning, Moyer kept getting nicked for hits _ he allowed 10 through four innings, but kept the Mets from scoring again until the fifth. With two out, Thole hit his first homer of the season, driving Moyer's 1-1 changeup into the Rockies bullpen in right-center. It was the third homer allowed by Moyer this season, the first two coming in his Rockies debut April 7 at Houston.
Moyer pitched out of trouble in the third when Hairston singled and Davis doubled with one out. By striking out Thole and Santana, Moyer snuffed out that rally. He gave up a two-out double to Murphy in the fourth, when his drive went off the glove of leaping right fielder Cuddyer who then banged into the wall. But after intentionally walking Wright, Moyer got Duda to hit a hard grounder to first baseman Giambi, who made a sprawling stop and flipped the ball to Moyer.
Notes: Wright went 1-for-2 against Moyer, raising his lifetime average against him to .411 (23-for-56) with six doubles, four homers and 16 RBI...Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa will begin a minor league rehab assignment and throw five innings or 65 pitches on Wednesday for high Class A Modesto against Visalia. De La Rosa is coming back from Tommy John surgery June 3...The Mets will activate center fielder Andres Torres (strained left calf) on Monday. Manager Terry Collins said Nieuwenhuis, who has played center in Torres' absence, will play most of the time in left field. . . . Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, a close friend of first baseman Todd Helton, visited the Rockies clubhouse and watched batting practice. Manning replaced Helton at quarterback at the University of Tennessee.