DENVER (AP) Logan Verrett joked with Matt Harvey that he was a better pitcher than the New York Mets' ace.
For a while Sunday, the rookie did a pretty impressive impression.
Verrett stepped into Harvey's spot and earned his first major league win in his first start, pitching eight sharp innings and leading the Mets over the Colorado Rockies 5-1 Sunday.
After the NL East-leading Mets posted a pair of 14-9 wins at Coors Field, Verrett (1-0) allowed just one run and four hits while striking out eight.
''It's a good feeling to be out there, be able to give your team eight good innings, save the bullpen and get the win,'' Verrett said.
Verrett got the spot start when the Mets decided to push back Harvey's outing, and he turned in a performance worthy of New York's strong rotation.
''I joked with Matt the other day, `Why is everybody freaking out? Don't they know I'm a way better pitcher than you are?''' Verrett said. ''He laughed. He's a good guy. We played together a few years back in the Cape Cod summer league, so he I think he knew I'd be able to go out there and give us a chance to win.''
Verrett made his major league debut with Texas this season and pitched four times in relief before the Mets got him on waivers. The 25-year-old righty had pitched well in seven relief appearances for the Mets.
He was even better in his first big league start
''To have an outing like that, a spot start like that and do that kind of a job is really special,'' New York manager Terry Collins said. ''Matt needed a break and got it and this kid really stepped up. If we need another one, he's got to be a candidate.''
Michael Conforto had three hits for the Mets, who have won 11 straight against Colorado dating to 2014. New York held its five-game division lead over Washington.
The Mets outscored the Rockies 33-19 in the series and totaled 45 hits.
David Hale (3-5) threw a pair of wild pitches while Anthony Recker was batting in the second inning, both allowing a run to score.
Hale threw a team-record four wild pitches in six innings. He also struck out nine.
''There was no miscommunication between he and (catcher) Dustin (Garneau),'' Rockies manger Walt Weiss said. ''David was working on some things mechanically over the last week that he took into the game. It took a few innings to get used to it.''
The Rockies' first two hitters of the game reached on singles. But a double play and a groundout kept them off the scoreboard and Verrett settled in to retire eight of the next nine batters.
''That first inning you could kind of see he wasn't in a real good rhythm,'' Collins said. ''Two very good plays got him out of trouble and about the fifth inning on he got better.''
Carlos Gonzalez hit his 30th home run leading off the Colorado fourth. It is the second time Gonzalez has reached the 30-homer plateau - he hit 34 in 2010 when he finished third in the NL MVP voting.
''As far as game plan went I thought we executed pretty well with the exception of the home run,'' Verrett said. ''Don't throw CarGo belt-high changeups down the middle.''
Daniel Murphy had two hits for the Mets, including an RBI double in the first.
Colorado has lost 11 of 13.
Mets: 3B David Wright (back) is scheduled to join the team in Philadelphia on Monday. Collins said Wright would not be used as an everyday player upon his return in order to keep him healthy. Wright has been out since April 14.
Rockies: C Nick Hundley was out of the lineup after leaving Saturday's game in the sixth after a foul tip came straight back and hit him in the head. Weiss said he checked out OK but he wanted to give him a day off. ... RHP Chad Bettis (right elbow inflammation) will return from the DL when and start Tuesday's game in Atlanta.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (12-6, 1.98) will open a four-game series at Philadelphia on Monday. In his last 16 starts, he is 9-2 with a 1.44 ERA.
Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (7-5, 4.50) gets the ball to start a three-game series in Atlanta on Monday. He is 1-1 with a 6.57 ERA in six career games - four starts - against the Braves.