Terry Collins was hoping for a solid pitching outing to help offset playing in hitter-friendly Coors Field.
"If ever you are going to pull your "A" game out, the next four days is when you need to do it," the New York Mets manager said before Thursday night's series opener against the Colorado Rockies. "Obviously, in this park, the way they are swinging, you have to really pitch well."
But Bartolo Colon (2-4) was not at his best on this night. He allowed seven runs on 10 hits in the Mets' 7-4 loss Thursday night to the Rockies. He went 4 2-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out three.
"He did not have the usual command," Collins said. "His release point and command wasn't there tonight."
Colon said he had problems with his control.
"I had trouble locating pitches," Colon said.
Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez found one in a hurry, though. He homered before leaving with a finger injury, Juan Nicasio pitched seven scoreless innings and drove in three runs.
"I liked the way he located his fastball," Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud said of Nicasio. "That was huge for him."
It was a different story for Colon.
"Bartolo left pitches over the plate. And we ran into a hot team," said d'Arnaud, who homered for the Mets in the ninth.
Nicasio (3-1) was effective at the plate and on the mound.
After allowing a one-out single in the second to Chris Young, Nicasio retired 12 batters in a row before issuing his lone walk in the sixth inning. The only extra base hit he allowed was a double leading off the game to Juan Lagares. He was activated prior to the game after spending the previous two weeks on the disabled list because of a strained right hamstring.
Nicasio also was a central figure in the Rockies' offense. Dickerson and Charlie Culberson hit successive two-out singles in the second and, running on the pitch, they both scored when Nicasio followed with a single that rolled to the right field corner.
He added a sacrifice fly in the Rockies' three-run fourth. Arenado also had a sacrifice fly and Charlie Blackmon an RBI single in the inning.
Dickerson's two-out triple in the fifth scored Justin Morneau, who was aboard with a single.
The Mets avoided their third shutout of the season when Lagares, doubling for the second time in the game, hit a drive off reliever Chad Bettis in the eighth to the right centerfield gap to score pinch hitter Bobby Abreu from first.
Bettis surrendered a two-out, three-run homer to d'Arnaud in the ninth before retiring Ruben Tejada on a fly ball to right.
NOTES: Four of the seven home runs Colon has given up this season have come in the first inning. ... Colon's four-pitch walk to Wilin Rosario leading off the fourth represented his first walk in 14 innings. ... Collins was encouraged by Curtis Granderson's two-out single in the ninth. "The swing he had in the ninth might be the swing that gets him going," Collins said.