Pitching was the key to the seventh straight victory of the Mets over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night at Citi Field. Bartolo Colon, 19 days before his 42nd birthday, put on a pitching clinic for the fans at Citi Field. The experience and pitching wisdom of Colon transcended his need for blazing speed. He was able to effectively use command, control and location to easily handle the Orioles’ batters.
The veteran hurler fanned nine batters, his season high, without throwing a pitch faster than 92 mph. He did not issue a walk for his fifth straight game. In 40.1 innings this season, Colon has 34 strikeouts and only one base on balls. He has not walked a batter in the last 34.1 innings, the third longest streak in Mets history. The Dominican native gave up only six hits in 7.2 innings, his longest start of the year.
His only pitching mistake was leaving a 1-0 pitch up to third sacker Manny Machado who parked in the stands in left-center field in the eighth for the only run Colon yielded.
The victory was the fifth of the season for Colon. He is now tied with his 16 year younger teammate Matt Harvey and “King” Felix Hernandez of Seattle for the major league lead. The much traveled pitcher has had success against the Orioles regardless of what uniform he is wearing as Tuesday’s win set a record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau’s research, for wins against one team while pitching for seven different clubs.
Colon’s catcher, Kevin Plawecki, only in the majors for two weeks, expressed his admiration for Colon’s performance, “He’s got great command of all his pitches. When you get ahead of everybody, you can throw any pitch you want. That’s why he was so effective today.”
Mets manager terry Collins was, obviously, very pleased with the performance of his starting pitcher, “He knows what he’s doing. He lives and dies with command. Right now, you see more breaking balls. He’s been remarkable.”
Colon, through a translator, explained his motivation in the game to reporters, “The most important thing is being confident in what you’re doing. I know the team needed a game like this. I know the team hadn’t scored in two games.”
Closer Jeurys Familia earned his major league leading 11th save.
Effective pitching by the Orioles held the Mets hitless in five of the eight innings they batted, but the four hits in the fourth led to three runs that ended the 22 innings scoring drought of the New Yorkers. Lucas Duda led off with a double. He scored on a single by Daniel Murphy, who moved to third on a double by Wilmer Flores. Both were driven across the plate on a double by Plawecki. The runs in the one inning were sufficient to ensure the victory for the Mets.