MINNEAPOLIS -- For three innings, Bartolo Colon looked like the All-Star he was with the Mets last season when he located his two-seamers on the corners and finished with the lowest walks-per-nine-innings rate in the National League. But it began to unravel for him in the fourth and fifth innings
MINNEAPOLIS -- For three innings, Bartolo Colon looked like the All-Star he was with the Mets last season when he located his two-seamers on the corners and finished with the lowest walks-per-nine-innings rate in the National League. But it began to unravel for him in the fourth and fifth innings en route to a 6-3 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night at Target Field.
Colon, pitching for his 10th Major League team in his 20th season, joined the Twins on a Minor League deal in an effort to boost their starting pitching depth. But the 44-year-old's Minnesota debut didn't quite go to plan, as he was charged with four runs on eight hits over four-plus innings, which caused his 8.14 ERA with the Braves to rise to 9.00, while falling to 2-9 on the year. But it was enough for him to get another start, which will come on Tuesday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
"Bartolo was pretty good early," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "They had some pretty funny swings the first couple times around. The fact that it was 84-89 [mph], kept them off-balance. I like how he changed speeds. It could've turned out better."
Colon looked sharp early, with a 1-2-3 nine-pitch first highlighted by a four-pitch strikeout of Aaron Judge looking, and he opened the second with a strikeout of Matthew Holliday before punching out Gary Sanchez to end the third.
But the Yankees started hitting the ball with authority in the fourth, including a Statcast-measured 102.1-mph single from Judge, an 89-mph single from Didi Gregorius, a 100-mph groundout from Clint Frazier and 103-mph RBI single from Chase Headley. It continued in the fifth, in which he couldn't record an out, as he gave up a leadoff single to Ronald Torreyes, a double to Brett Gardner and a 112-mph two-run double to Sanchez that tied it at 3 and knocked Colon from the game. Sanchez later scored as part of a five-run fifth, with three of those runs charged to Colon.
"I felt good," Colon said through a translator. "The first four innings went good, but the fifth inning I couldn't get out of it. They started getting on top of me and hitting me hard. When you don't locate the pitches where they're supposed to be, you get hit hard."
Colon's command, however, was better than he showed with Atlanta, as he didn't walk a batter, but he also began falling behind hitters in the fourth and fifth innings. Colon threw 82 pitches with 53 going for strikes. Of those 82 pitches, 77 were fastballs, ranging from 84-89 mph.
"I threw a lot of two-seamers, and I felt like I had a good feel for it today," Colon said. "I didn't have that kind of feel for it in Atlanta."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and listen to his podcast.