Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Rockies 1

DENVER -- The Mets took an early lead Sunday at Coors Field … and held it!

A day after blowing a six-run lead, Dillon Gee tossed six scoreless innings and the Mets beat the Colorado Rockies, 5-1, to avoid getting swept in the four-game series.

Despite the Rockies entering the series finale averaging an MLB-best 7.8 runs per game at home, Gee became the fourth starting pitcher in Mets history to toss six or more scoreless innings at Coors Field. He joined Johan Santana (2012), Mike Pelfrey (2010) and Pete Harnisch (1995). Gee has tossed a career-high 16 consecutive scoreless innings.

Gee needed help from Carlos Torres and Scott Rice.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Dillon Gee tossed six scoreless innings Sunday at Coors Field.

Showing faith in his starting pitcher -- or, perhaps more aptly, reluctance to use his overworked and erratic bullpen -- Terry Collins allowed Gee to take the mound for the seventh with his pitch count at 105. Gee proceeded to allow consecutive singles to Michael McKenry and Corey Dickerson to open the frame and was pulled.

Torres recorded a pair of outs. And with Gee’s two runners in scoring position, Rice entered and coaxed a flyout to center field from lefty-hitting Charlie Blackmon to preserve the 5-0 lead.

The lone run came in the ninth inning on Justin Morneau's solo homer against Jeurys Familia.

The bullpen had logged a combined 11 1/3 innings the first three games of the series.

Gee has wanted to gain the faith from Collins to be trusted in late spots since being pulled in Arizona on April 16 with his pitch count at 72 after seven scoreless innings.

Gee has now completed six innings in 27 of his past 29 starts. He is 3-1 with a 0.67 ERA (2 ER in 27 IP) in his past four starts.

Sunday’s line: 6+ IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. He threw 113 pitches (68 strikes).

The performance was desperately needed after Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler and Jenrry Mejia each failed to complete five innings in the series.

The Mets (16-14) actually moved to within a game of the first-place Atlanta Braves, who have lost six straight. Of course, the Mets also are only a half-game out of last place in the congested National League East.

Juan Lagares, inserted into the starting lineup after Eric Young Jr. was scratched with a bruised right cheekbone, went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

Lagares opened the game with a single and scored on Curtis Granderson’s two-out single against Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin. Lagares and Daniel Murphy had back-to-back two-out doubles in the fourth as the lead swelled to 4-0.

Lagares had four doubles in the four-game series. He was activated from the disabled list Thursday after a pulled right hamstring healed.

Granderson has hit safely in five straight games.

Stop, Forrest: The good news: Murphy followed up Saturday’s four-hit game with a two-hit performance Sunday. The bad news: His aggressiveness on the bases is borderline recklessness.

Murphy, trying to draw a throw home on a fake tag-up in the first inning, was caught straying too far off third base and was retired 7-5-6 when the ball was cut off. On Friday, Murphy had been caught stealing at third base with David Wright batting, similarly depriving the Mets of a potentially big first inning.

What’s next: The Mets head to Miami to complete a three-city trip. Jonathon Niese (2-2, 2.20 ERA) opposes right-hander Nate Eovaldi (2-1, 2.58) in Monday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener. The Marlins are an MLB-best 14-5 at home this season.