DENVER (AP) — Jhoulys Chacin felt stronger as his first start of the season progressed. It was the earlier innings that did him in.
Once Chacin found some rhythm, it was already too late as the Colorado Rockies lost to the New York Mets 5-1 on Sunday.
Chacin (0-1) came off the disabled list to try to complete Colorado's sweep of the four-game series, but his early ineffectiveness gave Mets starter Dillon Gee (3-1) all the support he needed.
"I wasn't commanding my fastball today and I wasn't finishing my pitches, especially at the beginning," Chacin said. "I felt better the last couple of innings."
Chacin lasted five innings and gave up four runs. He spent the first month on the DL with a strained right shoulder.
"He had a difficult time pitching down. He was up more than we used to see it," manager Walt Weiss said. "But first time out, a little rust, battled through to give us five."
Nolan Arenado ran his hitting streak to 24 games with a double in the fourth inning, the second-longest hitting streak in Rockies history. Justin Morneau accounted for Colorado's only run with a ninth-inning homer off Jeurys Familia.
Despite losing, the Rockies (19-14) are off to their best 33-game start since 1997 when they were 21-12.
This was opening day for Chacin, who was shut down early in spring training after experiencing inflammation in his throwing shoulder. He was the team's top right-handed starter in 2013, going 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA.
Chacin struggled with his control throughout the game as he gave up eight hits and walked five. He threw 86 pitches.
"I wasn't throwing first pitch for the strike so I had to throw something in the middle, and anyone can hit it," Chacin said. "It's one of those days."
Gee threw six scoreless innings and David Wright had one of New York's four RBI doubles.
Gee kept the Rockies off balance to run his scoreless string to a career-best 16 innings. The righty, 13-6 with a 2.66 ERA since last May 30, surrendered six hits and struck out five, helping the Mets avoid being swept for the first time in a four-game series at Coors Field.
"He doesn't overpower you with stuff but it almost seems like the way he throws a pitch up it looks like a good pitch to hit but it's not a good pitch to swing at," Arenado said of Gee. "Then you foul it up or pop it up."