Colon does it all as Mets stymie Pirates

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[June 17, 2016]  NEW YORK -- The Bartolo Colon Experience -- a feel-good festival of pitching, fielding and hitting -- continued to roll on Thursday night.

Colon did it all for the New York Mets as the 43-year-old right-hander pitched 7 2/3 strong innings and doubled to begin a four-run third inning that catapulted the Mets to a 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field.

"Anytime you're entertained, it helps," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "And he's entertaining."

Especially when he's at the plate. With the Mets ahead 1-0 thanks to Curtis Granderson's homer leading off the first, Colon -- who became the oldest player to hit his first career homer earlier this season -- opened the third by lacing an opposite-field double to right-center for his fourth career extra-base hit.

He then showed off some base-running chops, first by holding near second on a flare to left by Granderson and then by racing to third when the ball dropped and beating the throw from Matt Joyce, albeit without a slide.

"We just didn't want him to blow out running around those bases," Collins said. "When he was headed to third base, I was a little concerned there for -- what'd it take him, about four seconds, five seconds, 5 1/2 seconds? I was really concerned."

Colon didn't have to worry Collins when he trotted home on a long sacrifice fly to right by Yoenis Cespedes. It was the seventh run of Colon's career and the first one he's scored on a sacrifice fly.

"I don't like to run very much," Colon said through an interpreter. "But I imagine the fans have a lot of fun watching me out there running."

The 33,052 fans -- many of whom stood and applauded as Colon crossed the plate -- weren't the only ones having fun.

"I don't think he ever ceases to amaze us," said Mets second baseman Neil Walker, who followed Cespedes by hitting a two-run homer and finished with three RBIs. "You see him running around, legging out a double and then moving up on a single and scoring on a sacrifice fly. It's pretty impressive, Everybody loves him."

Colon, who is listed at 5 feet 11, 283 pounds and is the oldest player in baseball, was pretty fond of Walker and Michael Conforto after they extended the inning with back-to-back homers.

"Thank God for Walker and Conforto's home runs," Colon said. "That gave me a little bit of chance to catch my breath and I was able to come back even stronger after that."

Colon allowed two runs on seven hits and no walks while striking out eight in earning his 224th career win, most among active pitchers and tied for 68th all-time with Hall of Famers Catfish Hunter and Jim Bunning.

He allowed only one runner to reach third base in the first seven innings and displayed his fielding prowess during a 1-2-3 second, when he fielded a pair of comebackers and raced to first to field a throw from James Loney.

"He just does these same thing night after night," Collins said. "Never beats himself. He makes you swing the bat to beat him. Doesn't walk guys. Obviously he fields his position great. It's something to watch and it's truly amazing."

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Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon (40) scores against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Colon was chased in the eighth, when he gave up a leadoff homer to Joyce and a two-out RBI single to Josh Harrison. Addison Reed was charged with two runs in the ninth, when he gave up a leadoff homer to Andrew McCutchen and a double to Jung Ho Kang. Jeurys Familia came in and worked around a one-out double by Matt Joyce and a run-scoring groundout by John Jaso to earn his 22nd save.

"We make a late push in the eighth and ninth and we get the tying run to the plate," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Theres some DNA that I think that's just what those guys are about out there."

McCutchen had three hits for the Pirates (33-33), who have lost seven of eight to fall to .500 for the first time since April 23, while Harrison had two hits.

"When we're hitting, we're not just going to give away an at-bat because of the score," McCutchen said. "We weren't able to get the win, but we fought back."

Right-hander Juan Nicasio (5-6) took the loss after allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out five over 4 1/3 innings.

NOTES: Mets 3B David Wright (herniated disk in his neck) underwent a successful cervical discectomy and fusion Thursday afternoon. ... The Mets placed OF Juan Lagares (left wrist) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled IF Ty Kelly from Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Mets 3B Wilmer Flores was hit on the left hand by a pitch in the second inning and was pinch-hit for in the third inning. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day. ... Pirates LF Starling Marte did not play, one night after he was hit in the face by a ball while trying to make a diving catch. ... Pirates C Chris Stewart sat out a second straight game. He was hit in the head, elbow and side while catching Tuesday night's series opener. ... The eighth-inning home run by Pirates OF Matt Joyce was the 100th of his career.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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