- Associated Press - Sunday, July 31, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - For the first few innings, the decision to pitch Bartolo Colon on short rest looked great.

Then, in rapid fashion, what began as a festive night at Citi Field to honor Hall of Famer Mike Piazza went awry for the New York Mets.

The Mets wound up losing their fourth straight game, falling to the Colorado Rockies 7-2 Saturday.

Colon was finished after five innings and so was slugger Yoenis Cespedes, who exited early because of a nagging quad injury.

“I started feeling yesterday like maybe I’m not all there,” Cespedes said through a translator. “It bothered me a bit. It was feeling a little bit tense today.”

“We’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to see. If we played another game right now, I’d say, no, I probably can’t. But we’ll see how I feel tomorrow,” he said.

Cespedes stepped gingerly from the batter’s box after grounding out to end the fifth and jogged down the line. With light rain falling, manager Terry Collins took no chances.

“Tonight I knew before the game he was really in great spirits and was pumped up and joking. And then in the middle of the game I could see a difference, and I said what’s going on, and he said, ‘My legs are getting tight.’ So I said, ‘I got to get you out of there’ with the field the way it is,’” Collins said.

Collins said he would do his best to keep Cespedes off the disabled list. In a span of two days, the Mets put infielder Jose Reyes and outfielder Juan Lagares on the DL.

“We need his bat in the lineup. If we need to give him a day or every third day, we’ll do that,” Collins said.

On the day the Mets retired Piazza’s No. 31, they matched their longest skid of the season.

“What is it, four in a row? That’s not going in the right direction,” Collins said. “But, as I told them last night, if we win the next four, we can forget about it.”

A day earlier, Collins told his players they needed to relax and lighten up. They came back and took a 2-0 lead against Jorge De La Rosa (7-7) before the Rockies rallied for their fifth straight win.

The 43-year-old Colon (9-6) faltered in his first start on three days’ rest since 2005. Colon had pitched seven sharp innings to win the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday and with a crowded schedule, Collins brought him back early.

Colon didn’t allow a hit until the fourth, when Colorado scored three times. The Rockies added two more runs in the fifth.

Colon said he felt fine.

“I think that once it started raining a little bit harder, that field got a little bit tougher for me and might have affected me a little,” he said through a translator.

Collins was ejected in the ninth after umpires overturned their original call and took away a home run from Wilmer Flores, ruling a fan reached over the wall and prevented left fielder David Dahl from making a catch.

Dahl said he would’ve caught it, but the Mets weren’t so sure.

“You can look at the video, and he didn’t even try to reach the ball. He didn’t even jump,” Flores said.

After snagging the ball, the fan taunted Dahl a bit, wagging his finger at the rookie.

“I don’t understand how they can assume that ball is going to get caught,” Collins said.

De La Rosa and the Colorado bullpen retired the last 16 batters.

The Rockies improved to 12-4 since the All-Star break and won despite losing NL home run leader Trevor Story to a jammed left thumb. He seemed to get hurt on a scrambling slide in the fourth, exited early and X-rays on the rookie shortstop were negative.

Justin Ruggiano had an adventuresome time after signing with New York earlier in the day. Cut by Texas on Tuesday, the veteran major league joined the Mets when they put infielder Jose Reyes on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left ribcage.

Ruggiano got a hit, but overran a ball in center field for an error and was thrown out stealing on a replay reversal. He also made a dive into the alley for a drive by Carlos Gonzalez that glanced off his glove for a double.


Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (9-6, 5.19) is 5-1 in his last nine starts. Colorado has supported him with nearly seven runs a game over that span.

Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (9-5, 2.45) is 1-3 in his past five starts. The All-Star won his only career start vs. the Rockies last year.

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