Stingy bullpen makes Rox early lead stick

Stingy bullpen makes Rox early lead stick

DENVER -- His start Saturday night was far from memorable for Eddie Butler. It was nowhere near as good as his previous outing -- six scoreless innings at San Francisco -- but Butler went far enough to let manager Walt Weiss maneuver his relievers.

Butler pitched into the sixth, enabling Weiss to deploy his bullpen exactly as he wanted to and not out of need.

Four relievers followed Butler and nailed down a 7-4 win over the Mets. It was a season-high tying third straight win for the Rockies, whose five-run third gave Butler a 7-1 lead.

He gave up a solo homer to Neil Walker in the fourth. But Butler then got three ground-ball outs, the last on a superb stop by second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who had an outstanding defensive game, on pinch hitter Alejandro De Aza's hard smash.

LeMahieu robs De Aza

Butler got a double-play grounder to end the fifth as shortstop Trevor Story took a hard, clean hit from David Wright but unloaded a strong throw.

In the sixth, Butler yielded a double to Yoenis Cespedes and a single to Lucas Duda that trimmed the Rockies' lead to 7-3. Weiss then turned to right-hander Gonzalez Germen.

"I liked Germen because of the switch-hitters coming up, and I like his changeup," Weiss said. "I just thought it was a better matchup at that time. Eddie did his part."

Germen gave up a single to the switch-hitting Walker but got Asdrubal Cabrera, another switch-hitter, to ground into a 3-6-3 double play that made it 7-4. After Wright led off the seventh with a double, Germen then got left-handed hitting Michael Conforto and Cespedes to both fly out.

"I thought a big part of that game tonight was Germen bridging those innings between starter and back end [of the bullpen]," Weiss said.

Weiss on 7-4 win over Mets

Left-hander Boone Logan then came on to face the left-hander Duda and threw a called third strike past him.

"I threw four sliders in a row," Logan said. "I threw a four-seamer down and away. He was definitely looking slider, and he flinched."

Weiss is "very comfortable" giving rookie Carlos Estevez the ball late in a game. He pitched the eighth and struck out two of the three batters he faced.

"It's great that they put me in that situation," Estevez said. "They trust me. 'Here, you got the eighth, and get the job done.' They put so much confidence in me all the time, and I just really like that."

Closer Jake McGee finished matters off in the ninth and is 11-for-13 in save opportunties.

"Your starter gets into the sixth or beyond, the pieces fall into place," Weiss said. "When you have to put in four-plus innings from the bullpen, that's when it starts to get out of whack and guys get overused."

Jack Etkin is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.