NEW YORK -- Yorvit Torrealba searched for reasons his two big chances went awry during the Rockies' 6-1 loss to the Mets at Shea Stadium on Monday night. Each time, he thought he had a John Maine pitch lined up. But he flied to deep center field in the second inning with two men on and to second base with the bases loaded in the sixth. Then it occurred to him that his teammates had similar experiences. His conclusion was Maine (3-0) was better than he looks on videotape or from the batter's box.
"It seems like when we're hitting, we're like, 'Wow, something's wrong,'" Torrealba said. "The pitch is right there, and we just miss it. "It's kind of weird. On tape, it seems like he throws a straight fastball. But in the game, there was movement. It wasn't that much, but enough to get us." Maine, who reduced his ERA to 1.71, was the wrong pitcher for the Rockies to face at a time when they're not sure whether to tip their batting helmets to the opposing pitcher or bang their helmets against the dugout wall until they disintegrate. The Rockies have lost nine of their last 13 games. Monday marked the ninth game, all losses, that the Rockies have scored fewer than four runs. Maine held the Rockies to seven hits, the last two coming with two down in the eighth before reliever Pedro Feliciano forced a Brad Hawpe popup to end the threat. The only run came in the sixth, when Steve Finley led off with a double and Matt Holliday singled him home. Rockies manager Clint Hurdle observed that it seemed Maine's pitches were "one ball higher than we thought they were," but his team's current hitting doldrums helped Maine. The Rockies left 11 on base. Holliday, who entered the night leading the National League in hitting and raised his average to .400, went 3-for-4 and Todd Helton went 2-for-3 with a walk. But a team can't live on two hitters. It's also hard for the Rockies to subsist on seven home runs, the lowest total in the Majors. "Consistency is what we're lacking right now," Hurdle said. "The big hit would help." The Rockies didn't offer enough help for right-hander Taylor Buchholz (1-1), who held the Mets to four runs and five hits in five innings in his first start. Buchholz moved into the rotation because Rodrigo Lopez is out with an elbow strain. Buchholz's big mistake -- a hanging changeup that Jose Valentin knocked for a three-run homer in the second inning -- was enough to sink the Rockies. Moises Alou doubled in the fourth, went to third when Buchholz chose to go to first on Shawn Green's bouncer and scored on Valentin's sacrifice fly. Carlos Delgado accounted for the other two runs on a home run -- his first in 118 at-bats dating to last season -- in the seventh against Rockies reliever Bobby Keppel, a Mets first-round draft pick in 2000. Overall, Buchholz displayed a better sinking fastball than he had shown in four relief appearances. He'll start again, although that could be pushed back to May 1, the next time the club needs a fifth starter. "He did all right -- he's got work to do, but he took a nice step in the right direction," Hurdle said. Monday was better than Buchholz's last time facing the Mets. He yielded seven runs, six earned, in five innings for the Astros last July 21. "Tonight went all right," Buchholz said. "I was comfortable for the most part. I tried to overthrow a couple of times, but other than that, I felt pretty good."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.