- Associated Press - Thursday, August 13, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - In a matchup on the mound of highly touted rookies, Eddie Butler lagged way behind.

The struggling right-hander got knocked around for six runs in four innings while counterpart Noah Syndergaard showed savvy and poise, pitching the New York Mets to a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies with a 12-3 victory Thursday.

“Just too many pitches on the plate, elevated,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said in describing Butler’s outing. “You struggle in this league, that’s what it usually comes down to: location. Being in tough counts, extended counts.”

Syndergaard recovered nicely from a rocky start for his latest win at Citi Field, where the Mets have won 10 straight against Colorado.

Curtis Granderson and Kelly Johnson each homered and drove in three runs.

Johnson doubled twice, including a two-out hit that broke a tie in the third. Granderson connected in the fourth for a two-run shot off Butler (3-10), who has lost the last four of his five winless starts since he was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque last month.

“I really attacked the hitters today, got ahead most of the time, but still just a few pitches got away that ended up hurting me,” Butler said.

Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares capped the outburst, launching a three-run drive off reliever Tommy Kahnle in the eighth.

The last-place Rockies have lost 11 of 15 overall and 24 of 32 on the road. Colorado has dropped eight straight to the Mets since May 2014.

New York pitchers have a 0.90 ERA during Colorado’s 10-game skid at Citi Field since 2013, which came after the Rockies won eight in a row at the ballpark over the previous two years.

“That’s a big-time staff right there. They’re young and strong and they’ve got some horses over there and they look like they’re at the top of their game,” Weiss said. “It’s tough to find a collection of guys like that at that stage of their careers and that accomplished this early.”

Syndergaard (7-6) went seven innings and improved to 7-1 at Citi Field, but the 22-year-old righty labored early. After entering with a 1.57 ERA in his own ballpark, he got tagged for first-inning homers by DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado.

That snapped New York’s scoreless streak at 23 innings, all against the Rockies this week. It was the club’s longest since a run that lasted exactly as long in June 2012.

But after that, Syndergaard switched to off-speed stuff early in the count and shut down Colorado.

“All of a sudden later in the game, you started seeing first-pitch breaking balls for strikes, changeups for strikes and got ‘em off the fastball a little bit,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “So he made the adjustments he needed to make and pitched very well after that.”

Syndergaard did not permit a hit after the second inning and retired 14 of his final 15 batters - with the only runner erased on a double play.

“He found a groove and settled in. Then he was tough to get to after that,” Weiss said.

With their seventh consecutive home win and 11th in 13 games overall, the NL East leaders (63-52) moved 11 games over .500 for the first time since June 27, 2010.

ROCKIES REPORT

Carlos Gonzalez went 1 for 14 in the series with a homer and three RBIs after hitting .396 in his previous 25 games. … Charlie Blackmon became the first Rockies player to steal 30 bases in a season since Willy Taveras set the team record with 68 in 2008. … 1B-OF Matt McBride went 0 for 4 in his first start for Colorado since getting called up Wednesday from Triple-A. … With the Rockies short on the bench, pitcher Chris Rusin was sent up as a pinch hitter for Butler in the fifth. Rusin flied out.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rockies: SS Jose Reyes was rested against his former team. “Just a quick turnaround,” Weiss said. “Take care of his legs.”

Mets: 1B Lucas Duda missed his third straight game with a stiff back. Daniel Murphy started at first base.

UP NEXT

Rockies: LHP Yohan Flande (2-1, 3.86 ERA) makes his fourth start this season and first at home Friday night against Padres RHP Tyson Ross (8-9, 3.39) in the opener of a nine-game homestand.

Mets: RHP Bartolo Colon (10-11, 4.76 ERA) faces new Pittsburgh lefty J.A. Happ in the opener of a three-game series.

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