NEW YORK (AP) — Every time they give him something to hit, Troy Tulowitzki is making the Mets pay.
Tulowitzki sliced a go-ahead homer through the thick fog and the Colorado Rockies, off to the best start in club history, beat New York 5-4 on Wednesday night for their fourth consecutive victory — all on the road.
“Last year we weren’t very good in one-run games and we’ve won a couple this year,” Tulowitzki said. “We’re a good team. We believe that. We feel like at least so far that even when we’re down we are going to find a way to win.”
Ryan Spilborghs also connected and Esmil Rogers (2-0) won his second straight outing to begin the season. The NL West leaders improved to 8-2, with the only losses coming in extra innings.
The Rockies, who opened 7-3 in 1995 and ’97, are 5-1 away from Coors Field after going 31-50 on the road last year.
“It’s a very good game to win. It’s also a very good game to come back in considering the conditions we were dealing with tonight,” manager Jim Tracy said.
Tulowitzki foiled the Mets with his bat and glove in the series opener Monday night, then burned them again Wednesday when they pitched to him with first base open in a key spot. He hit a three-run shot off Jonathon Niese (0-2) in the fifth inning to give Colorado a 4-3 lead.
The slugger also doubled and singled, meaning eight of his 11 hits this season have gone for extra bases. He is 5 for 8 in the series with six RBIs.
“Big stage, you know?” Tulowitzki said. “They were all over me by my third at-bat. That’s fun. And you know, I think also here, there a lot of people here, obviously you want to play well here for the All-Star votes. Things like that, the fans remember that. They’re good baseball people.”
Carlos Beltran and Daniel Murphy each had an RBI double for the Mets (4-7), who have dropped six of seven following a three-game winning streak. First-year manager Terry Collins held a quick, closed-door meeting after the game and made it clear what he expects.
“It’s time to start making pitches. It’s time to start getting the big two-out hit,” said Collins, who thought his team got deflated after Tulowitzki’s home run. “Now is the time.
“We’ve been in every game and we’ve got to start winning ’em,” he added. “We’re one pitch away and we’re one swing away from being 9-2, and we’re not. But the next 11 we need to be 9-2. We need to get it going and do the things we haven’t done so far.”
The Mets and Rockies will play three games in a 24-hour span — a rainout Tuesday night forced Thursday’s traditional doubleheader, which begins at 12:10 p.m.
The weather was only slightly better Wednesday, when players could see their own breath on a gloomy, misty, 49-degree night that felt more like Victorian London than New York City.
After throwing 7 1-3 strong innings to win 7-1 at Pittsburgh last Thursday, Rogers lasted 5 2-3 innings this time. He gave up three runs and seven hits before four relievers finished up.
Huston Street tossed a perfect ninth for his sixth save in six chances.
Carlos Gonzalez made a diving catch in left field to save a run in the first for the Rockies.
Seth Smith drew a one-out walk in the fifth, Jonathan Herrera singled and Gonzalez’s slow groundout left runners at second and third. With first base open, the Mets had a chance to walk Tulowitzki and instead face Jose Lopez with the bases loaded, but Collins chose not to.
“At that particular point in the game it’s pretty easy to start walking guys, setting up big innings,” he said.
Tulowitzki reached for an 0-1 pitch that appeared to be outside and punched a slicing shot into the right-field corner. His fifth home run of the season, and second in the past two games at spacious Citi Field, put Colorado ahead 4-3.
“He put a good swing on it on a pretty good pitch, I thought,” said Niese, adding that he wanted to go after Tulowitzki. “It was off the plate. Just one of those pitches where you’ve just got to tip your cap and move on.”
The All-Star shortstop hit a two-run shot with first base open in the eighth inning Monday night, giving the Rockies a three-run cushion in a 7-6 victory. He also made an outstanding defensive play to preserve a seventh-inning tie in that game.
Spilborghs added a solo shot off Niese in the sixth, his first of the season. New York cut it to 5-4 on Angel Pagan’s sacrifice fly in the seventh.
The Mets intentionally walked Tulowitzki with first base open in the ninth and got out of the inning unscathed.
Tulowitzki doubled in the fourth and scored on Todd Helton’s single.
NOTES: RHP Greg Reynolds is set to start the opener for Colorado on Thursday and LHP Jorge De La Rosa will go in the second game. RHP R.A. Dickey and LHP Chris Capuano will pitch for New York. … Mets RHP Chris Young has tendinitis in his surgically repaired arm and his next scheduled start has been pushed back two days until Sunday. New York plans to bring RHP D.J. Carrasco out of the bullpen for a spot start in Atlanta on Friday night. Carrasco worked a scoreless ninth inning Wednesday night.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)