08/18/2004 12:19 AM ET
Holliday blast caps Rockies' rally
Rookie's sixth-inning solo shot sends Jennings to win
By Lindsay Albanesi / MLB.com
DENVER -- Matt Holliday hit a 402-foot solo homer in the sixth inning to lift the Colorado Rockies to a 6-4 victory over the New York Mets in front of 34,387 at Coors Field Tuesday night.
|Royce Clayton ducks out of the way of Victor Zambrano's brushback pitch. (David Zalubowski/AP)
The Rockies, coming off their third consecutive winning road trip, lost four of their last six games at home prior to Tuesday's victory. They improved to 10-10 at Coors Field since the All-Star break, and 30-31 at home overall.
And, despite a quiet offense and facing a starter with dominating numbers against National League teams, the Rockies came out on top.
"It just comes down to taking care of opportunities when they present themselves," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "You make them, get them out there and complete the equation. Basically, we've been playing pretty clean ball.
"All of those things you talk about in Little League, or talk about anywhere else. We've been doing it, which translates to winning baseball at this level."
Mets starter Victor Zambrano entered Tuesday's start undefeated against National League teams in his six appearances this season. In his last start, he earned a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros and opened the game retiring the first 14 batters he faced.
However, Zambrano left the game immediately after walking Rockies catcher J.D. Closser in the second inning. He was diagnosed with right elbow inflammation and is questionable for his next start. Zambrano gave up two runs and two hits in his 1 2/3 innings.
Mets right-hander Dan Wheeler (3-1) came in to pitch the next four innings, giving up two runs, including the solo shot from Holliday in the sixth inning.
Holliday scored three runs in the game, matching his career high from May 18 against the Cincinnati Reds. The homer marked Holliday's 11th of the season, which trails only Pittsburgh's Jason Bay (16) among National League rookies.
"A guy with his skills and as hard as he's working, you would like to give him some sets in those situations," Hurdle said. "You'd like to see his RBI count get up there, because there have been guys out there in front of him. So, him to rip that ball the way he did was good to see."
Wheeler gave up two runs on eight hits in his 4 1/3 innings. He gave way to reliever Pedro Feliciano, who also gave up two runs.
Rockies starter Jason Jennings (11-10) was coming off a rough outing against Philadelphia, where he gave up seven runs, including three homers in a four-inning outing that resulted in a 15-4 loss.
Jennings made his fifth career start against the Mets, the team he made his Major League debut against in 2001, and gave up three runs and seven hits in his seven innings. He improved to 4-1 in five career starts against the Mets.
"I felt coming off a bad outing in Philly, I really wanted to redeem myself today," Jennings said. "I was able to do some damage control early on and get into a rhythm and really get going after that."
Jennings helped his own cause by recording his fifth career multi-hit game, his third this season. Jennings' RBI single in the second inning snapped a 17-inning scoreless drought for the Rockies, who hadn't seen a teammate cross the plate since Vinny Castilla hit a solo homer on Saturday at PNC Park.
Jennings improved his batting average to .375 against the Mets in his career, which includes a homer and three RBIs.
"I always like to try to do that," Jennings said. "I was able to get an RBI single. [Steve] Reed came in and did a good job keeping them close. We were able to chip away and Matt came up with a big hit to put us up and we were able to add a couple of insurance runs late."
Reed pitched a scoreless eighth inning to tie Lee Smith's Major League record of 12 consecutive seasons with at least 50 appearances.
"He's been overlooked at times," Hurdle said. "He just continues to do his job. He's been a very professional pitcher since he's been in the big leagues and, obviously, an overachiever of sorts."
The Rockies collected two more runs in the eighth inning to make it 6-3. Rockies closer Shawn Chacon took the ball in the ninth inning, and despite giving up a run after back-to-back walks and a rare Todd Helton error, he picked up his 30th save of the season.
"No, I don't set goals," Chacon said. "When we win, I'm happy. I don't care if it was my 20th save. Obviously, I want to save more games than I have. It is something I am supposed to do. It is not something out of the ordinary."
Lindsay Albanesi is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.