video thumbnail

NYM@COL: Iannetta's solo homer puts Rockies back up

DENVER -- Even with all the plays he made to carry the Rockies to a 2-1 win over the Mets on Monday night at Coors Field, Chris Iannetta poked fun at himself.

When it was suggested that his solo home run in the seventh inning, which proved to be the game's winning run, was hit on such a line over the left-field wall that Iannetta only had time to take two steps out of the batter's box, the Rockies catcher deadpanned: "I'm not very fast. I was trying to get more than that."

The Rockies will settle for a slow step out of the box if Iannetta continues to tear the cover off the ball like he has so far this month.

Iannetta is hitting .409 (9-for-22) with two home runs this month after collecting just 10 hits in April.

Aside from Iannetta, offensive struggles that plagued the Rockies on their recent 1-5 road trip showed up Monday, as they managed only five hits.

But after losing a season-high four straight games, the win, regardless of its form, had Colorado singing a happy tune.

"We like to listen to music after games," Iannetta said. "We don't usually do that when we lose."

In Monday's opener of an eight-game homestand, Iannetta stretched a base hit into a double in the fifth inning and later scored on Dexter Fowler's RBI single. Iannetta's one-out home run came on an 81-mph slider from Mets starter Chris Capuano.

"It was a hanging breaking ball," Capuano said. "I was trying to throw a backdoor breaking ball there, and it just kind of stayed up in the middle of the plate, right into his swing."

Iannetta, who hit .197 last season, has been working on mechanical adjustments to his swing since Spring Training. In recent weeks, he said he has received helpful tips from manager Jim Tracy, hitting coach Carney Lansford and first-base coach Glenallen Hill, but Iannetta said his biggest focus has been remaining levelheaded during times of struggle.

"I think the biggest thing is not pressing," he said. "It's knowing I'm going to be back there offensively, defensively and allowing myself to go through a process to make adjustments, as opposed to forcing adjustments in the video room or forcing adjustments in the cage or [during batting practice]."

Tracy believes Iannetta's biggest improvement has been in the way he's expertly handled the Rockies pitching staff, which received another solid outing from Jhoulys Chacin, who allowed just one run on two hits over six innings.

The right-hander struggled with his command for much of the outing -- 52 of his 107 pitches were balls and he walked a career-high six -- but he was able to pitch out of jams, including bases-loaded situations in the fourth and sixth innings.

"Today I didn't have my best stuff," Chacin said. "I really lost the release point of my fastball, but my breaking ball was really good."

Chacin was lauded during his 2010 rookie campaign for the poise he displayed under pressure, a trait that helped him squirm his way out of trouble against the Mets despite shaky control.

Chacin surrendered a leadoff walk to Carlos Beltran in the sixth and he moved to third on Ike Davis' single. Jason Bay's chopper down the third-base line plated Beltran to tie the score. But after he issued his sixth walk of the game to Josh Thole to load the bases, Chacin struck out Capuano to end the threat and set the stage for Iannetta's game-winning long ball.

A bullpen that struggled during the Rockies' road trip helped make sure Chacin's performance didn't go to waste.

Matt Reynolds and Matt Belisle combined to pitch a scoreless seventh. With one out and David Murphy on third, Beltran grounded to first baseman Todd Helton, whose throw home was in time to get Murphy at the plate.

After Rafael Betancourt registered a perfect eighth, Huston Street worked his way around a leadoff, check-swing single by Willie Harris to record his 12th save of the season.

Iannetta ended his night of bountiful contributions when he threw out Harris as he attempted to steal second.

MLB.com Comments