DENVER -- Playing the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros on their last road trip, the Colorado Rockies were dreadful.
Against the New York teams at home? That's another story.
Former Met Kaz Matsui had a career-high five hits and Ryan Spilborghs hit his first grand slam to lead the Rockies to an 11-3 victory over New York on Tuesday night.
It was a combined fifth straight win for the Rockies over the Yankees and Mets. During that stretch Colorado has outscored them 32-10.
"It's all about New York," Matsui said of playing the Mets and Yankees, who the Rockies swept in a three-game series last month. "New York is center stage and the place everyone is aware of and watches."
In sharp contrast, Colorado was 1-9 against the Blue Jays, Cubs and Astros on its recently completed road trip and was outscored 78-50.
"To be a good team, you upgrade your game against the best," said Garrett Atkins, who added a two-run home run and had three RBI for the Rockies. "The Yankees and Mets are among the best."
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said there is no good explanation.
"Those things runs in cycles against teams and we just hope it continues," he said.
Matsui, a second baseman who played for the Mets from 2004 to 2006, was 5-for-5, all singles. He was a last minute substitution for Jamey Carroll, who had a sprained wrist.
Matt Holliday had two hits and two RBI for Colorado.
The benefactor of the 18-hit attack was Aaron Cook (5-5), who won for the first time since May 26. Cook had been 0-4 over his previous six starts, but he limited the Mets to three runs, two earned, and seven hits over eight innings.
"I was able to keep the ball down and mix in the breaking ball," said Cook, who induced 18 ground ball outs. "My ball is always going to move. The last couple of games, I've been staying relaxed and focusing on my mechanics."
Colorado, losers of nine of their last 12, did much of its damage against Jason Vargas (0-1), who was called up from Triple A New Orleans to replaced injured starter Oliver Perez. Vargas gave up nine runs and 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings.
"Vargas didn't throw the ball well, obviously," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "It's tough coming into a situation like that when you get a spot start.
"You hope he gives you a little lift a little boost, but tonight from the beginning he didn't really have his good stuff," Randolph said. "He made too many pitches on the plate and any time he did he got hurt."
Ramon Castro was 2-for-3 with a home run for New York, which had won eight of 12.
The Mets scored an unearned run in the first. Jose Reyes reached on a bunt single, stole second and scored when third baseman Atkins failed to catch Cook's throw on a comebacker by Ruben Gotay. David Wright's blooper to right over a drawn-in infield made it 2-0.
After Holliday drove in two runs with a single in the first, Atkins made up for his mistake with a two-run homer that barely cleared the fence near the foul pole in left.
Colorado made it 6-2 on Yorvit Torrealba's leadoff homer and a bases loaded walk to Todd Helton in the second.
"Some things didn't go my way but, they usually don't when you're not getting ahead in the count and leaving balls up in the strike zone," Vargas said.
Castro hit a solo shot to left, his fifth homer of the year, with two outs in the fourth inning to make it 6-3.
Joe Smith replaced Vargas after the Rockies loaded the bases with one out in their fourth and Spilborghs cleared the bases with a home run into the Colorado bullpen in right to put the Rockies ahead 10-3.
Atkins added a sacrifice fly in the fifth off Aaron Sele.
RHP Pedro Martinez threw a 50-pitch simulated game at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla. ... In the 11 previous games, Mets starters were 6-2 with a 2.56 ERA. ... Sele's last appearance was June 19. ... Colorado placed RHP Jason Hirsh (sprained right ankle) on the 15-day DL and purchased the contract of RHP Matt Herges from Triple-A Colorado Springs. ... The Rockies have four grand slams this season. ... Holliday has a 23-game hitting streak at home. ... Helton has drawn 22 walks in the last 17 games.