NEW YORK -- The Rockies' flirtation with postseason play has evolved from a midsummer curiosity to something far more serious. With a 7-2 win over the Mets on Saturday night, Colorado reached .500 for the first time since May 21, clouding a National League Wild Card race that now appears to have six legitimate contenders.
Hanging around with different company as recently as last week, the Rockies have won 12 of 16 since the All-Star break to force themselves back into the playoff conversation. That includes three straight wins in this four-game set with the Mets, whom they also swept at Coors Field earlier this season.
"The guys have really responded coming out of the break," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We talked about playing every game like it's Game 7 coming out of the break. That's what they're doing."
The Rockies dominated Saturday's game in the middle innings, doing major damage on David Dahl's two-run homer in the fourth inning and DJ LeMahieu's two-run single in the fifth. The Mets also committed three errors behind pitcher Bartolo Colon, who was starting on short rest for the first time in 11 years.
Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa endured no such issues, limiting the Mets to two runs -- RBI singles by Wilmer Flores and Kelly Johnson -- in six innings. It was enough for De La Rosa's 100th career victory, including a franchise-record 85 with the Rockies. De La Rosa said his focus is on helping a team that felt it underachieved early moving forward.
"This doesn't surprise me -- it doesn't surprise my teammates," De La Rosa said. "We know we've got enough talent to win the division. We started a little bit slow, but right now, we're on a good pace to get there."
As the Rockies have risen, the Mets have fallen, losing 12 of their last 18 games. Saturday's defeat took some of the starch out of what was initially a festive atmosphere surrounding the retirement of Hall of Famer Mike Piazza's No. 31.
"Four [losses] in a row? I'd say that's not going in the right direction," manager Terry Collins said. "But if we win the next four, we can forget about it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED That story ended well: An injury to Rockies rookie shortstop Trevor Story turned out less extensive than feared. Story hustled for an infield RBI single in the fourth and tried to take second on shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera's errant throw. Story appeared to be in pain when he jammed his left thumb into second base while being tagged out. Story left the game after further injuring the thumb while diving for Justin Ruggiano's single in the bottom of the fourth. However, X-rays were negative. More >
Colorful debut: Reporting to Citi Field a day after agreeing to sign with the Mets, Ruggiano struggled at times in his debut. The veteran outfielder's adventures began in the top of the fourth inning, when Carlos Gonzalez's double glanced off his diving, outstretched glove. Half an inning later, Ruggiano was thrown out at third base on a replay-reviewed stolen-base attempt. He finished 1-for-3 with a single.
#TheRealDahl: Dahl has hit safely in all six games since being called up from Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday. The streak-extending hit on Saturday was his second homer -- a two-run shot in the fourth to give the Rockies a 3-2 lead. More >
"We got down early, scratched our way back a little bit, and Dahl hits a big home run," Weiss said.
Not today: Flores was still seething after the game about a call in the ninth inning, when a fan reached over the fence to snare what umpires initially ruled a home run. A crew-chief review ensued, turning it from a homer to an out. That brought Collins out of the dugout, arguing that Flores' hit should have at least been ruled a double. Adding to the chaos was the fan in left field, who celebrated his catch by wagging his finger Dikembe Mutombo-style at an unsuspecting Dahl. More >
"You can't assume he's going to catch the ball," Flores said. "I don't know what the rule is, but watching the video, you cannot ... assume."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
De La Rosa provided the Rockies' 19th quality start (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs) this month. The 19 match a club record, set in June 2009. The Rockies have 55 quality starts this season, one more than all of last season, when they finished 68-94 and last in the NL West. Additionally, while the Rockies have won nine of their last 10 games, their starters have a 2.06 ERA.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Ruggiano appeared to have a stolen base in the fourth inning, but a review overturned Chris Guccione's ruling at third base. That resulted in a quick end to the Mets' rally, which included runners on the corners and just one out before the review.
WHAT'S NEXT Rockies: Righty Chad Bettis (9-6, 5.19 ERA) has quietly backed the assertion that he is a leader of the staff. In his last nine starts, the Rockies are 8-1, and he is 5-1 with a 4.67 ERA, including 3-0 and 2.77 in his last four. He'll put it on the line against the Mets on Sunday afternoon at 11:10 a.m. MT.
Mets: The Mets will attempt to avoid a seven-game season sweep behind Noah Syndergaard, who is scheduled to start at 1:10 p.m. ET in Sunday's series finale at Citi Field. Syndergaard has been mortal lately, going 2-3 with a 3.90 ERA over his last six starts.