NEW YORK -- Sound the trumpets. Alert the parakeet. The Mets' transformation into legitimate playoff contenders is complete. In bludgeoning the Rockies, 12-3, on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field, the Mets scored a four-game series sweep and are now 4 1/2 games in front of the Nationals in the NL East, improving to 11 games over .500 for the first time in half a decade.
Home runs from Kelly Johnson and Curtis Granderson helped Noah Syndergaard overcome a rocky start to pitch seven quality innings, and the Mets' took advantage of Colorado's continued bullpen woes to pull away late. The result was their fourth straight victory, their seventh in a row at home and their 11th in 13 games overall.
"I'm going to reward our fan base because I'm going to tell you, the noise and enthusiasm ... it's really hard not to have some energy when you take the field right now," manager Terry Collins said of the Mets, who improved to 13-5 when drawing at least 36,000 fans to Citi Field. "We're playing well at home, and guys are excited about it."
Solo homers from DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado briefly gave the Rockies a first-inning lead, but it was almost all Mets from there. Syndergaard recovered to allow just one run the rest of the way, while Johnson's three hits and three RBIs paced the Mets' finest offensive attack of the homestand.
The Rockies spent the last week as a factor in the NL East race, taking two of three from the Nats in a weekend series before being swept in four games by the Mets.
"They're great pitchers, all of them -- everyone we faced this road trip was as good as it gets," Arenado said of Mets starters Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Jon Niese. "The Mets have four No. 1s, and we faced all of them. They have good pitching, both these teams, but we battled."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Triple-double: Long before the Mets began piling on late, they actually trailed, 2-0, in this one. But it didn't last. Daniel Murphy, Juan Uribe and Johnson hit consecutive RBI doubles in the first off Rockies starter Eddie Butler, undoing all the damage that Syndergaard allowed in the top of the inning.
"We're being put in matchups where we have a good chance to succeed," Johnson said. "It's been a lot of fun these past few weeks." More >
Early lead: The Rockies' LeMahieu ended the Mets' scoreless innings streak at 23 in the first inning with a one-out homer off Syndergaard. Arenado went deep two batters later, but the lead was gone by the bottom of the first. More >
Synder-recovery: Syndergaard gave up four hits over his first two innings, then didn't allow another the rest of the way. His final act was a five-pitch seventh inning, which he capped with a 96-mph sinker to induce a groundout and end his afternoon. More >
Deflation: The Rockies scrapped out a run to tie the game at 3 in the third, when Charlie Blackmon walked, stole second, took third on LeMahieu's foul out and scored on Carlos Gonzalez's grounder. In the bottom of the frame, Butler managed two outs after Yoenis Cespedes' leadoff double. He had two strikes on Johnson, but gave up a go-ahead RBI double that doused all the Rockies' momentum.
"I'm in a rut, but I'll keep fighting, try to work on the things I can and control what I can," Butler said.
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• Blackmon's third-inning steal improved his total to 30, making him the first Rockies player to reach 30 since Willy Taveras stole a club-record 68 in 2008. Blackmon is the 10th Rockies player to accomplish the feat. Two of them were in Citi Field Thursday as first-base coaches -- the Rockies' Eric Young and the Mets' Tom Goodwin.
"I don't look at a certain number I've got to get," Blackmon said. "It's just overall consistency. Am I doing it right? Am I seizing opportunities? Am I executing? I'm doing that better."
• Mets starters went at least seven innings in every game of the sweep of the Rockies. The Rockies haven't had a starter reach seven since Jorge De La Rosa at Oakland on June 30.
WHAT'S NEXT Rockies: Lefty Yohan Flande (2-1, 3.86 ERA) will make his fourth start but first at home, facing the Padres and righty Tyson Ross (8-9, 3.39 ERA), Friday at 6:40 p.m. MT (Root Sports Rocky Mountain/850 KOA).
Mets: The Mets will face a stiffer test this weekend, when the last-place Rockies leave town and the NL Wild Card-leading Pirates fly in. Bartolo Colon will start Friday's 7:10 p.m. ET opener opposite left-hander J.A. Happ.