Mets, Colon continue to dominate Phillies
NEW YORK -- Suddenly the Mets' hottest pitcher, Bartolo Colon delivered eight shutout innings Monday in a 3-1 Mets win over the Phillies at Citi Field, running his streak of scoreless innings to 16 and -- for good measure -- rapping out his career-high seventh hit.
The Mets finished August with 20 wins, achieving that for the first time in any month since August 2000. They also set a franchise record with 45 home runs in the month, including a pair on Monday from Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson. New York also extended its division lead to 6 1/2 games as Washington was topped by St. Louis, 8-5.
"The biggest difference is, we made some moves," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We made some moves that brought some energy, brought some enthusiasm to the clubhouse, on the field, and I think it's spread."
Count Colon among those catching the fever. Hardly a lock for the playoff roster, Colon has spent the past two weeks proving why, at age 42, he at least deserves some serious consideration. He retired the first five Phillies he faced and the final 10, leaving to an extended standing ovation as a cameraman trailed close behind.
Colon's single in the fifth inning was part of a three-run rally against Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff, who allowed no other damage over seven innings. Regardless, the Mets tied a 44-year-old franchise record with their 10th straight win over the Phillies, improving to 13-1 against them this season.
"It's unbelievable," Phillies right fielder Jeff Francoeur said about Colon. "He knows how to pitch. Even [Greg] Maddux, late in his career, you look at him, he was able to still start and be effective. I think the one thing Bartolo does a great job of is, he can hit a gnat's [bottom]. That's his thing. When he is locating, games like tonight are what you're going to get from him."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Twice is nice: The Mets did next to nothing against Eickhoff until Conforto hit the first opposite-field home run of his career, a one-out shot in the fifth. Colon followed with a two-out single, then Granderson popped his 23rd homer of the season -- a blast over the right-field fence to give the Mets a three-run lead.
"I feel a little bit more comfortable," said Conforto, who hit .317 in August. "I just had to go back to working hard, getting into the cage and working on some things, take a step back and ... go back to the drawing board and figure it out. But I do feel comfortable." More >
Eickhoff makes his case: The Phillies continue to like what they see from Eickhoff, despite the homers in the fifth. In fact, he already has to be considered a favorite to open the 2016 season in the rotation. He pitched a career-high seven innings, allowing four hits, three runs, two walks and striking out four.
"The thing I like about him is that he throws strikes," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "That's the first thing. The second thing is, the numbers mean something. You look at his ERA and innings pitched, that is a good indicator of how he's doing." More >
Bart-YOLO: Five days after blanking the Phillies for seven innings, and two days after a scoreless relief appearance against the Red Sox, Colon was back at it with eight shutout innings at Citi Field. He was in vintage form throughout the evening, striking out the side in the seventh on 13 fastballs. More >
Jeurys gets a scare: The Phillies loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the ninth inning against Jeurys Familia. Francoeur broke his bat, bouncing into a double play and scoring a run. Andres Blanco then ripped a ball down the right-field line, but it landed foul by just a few feet. But Familia struck out Blanco swinging to end the game.
"He couldn't seem to find the strike zone, so I was trying to be a little patient," Francoeur said. "The next thing you know, boom, boom, boom. But that's what good closers do. He's done a great job for them all year."
"I've never seen so many guys take bad swings on fastballs." -- Mackanin, on the above-average movement of Colon's fastball
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Colon's single was his career-high seventh hit of the season, breaking his personal best of six, set with the Expos and Indians in 2002. A .076 hitter entering this season, Colon has increased his career average to .092. But don't expect that on-base percentage to start rising any time soon. Colon has never walked in 225 career plate appearances, the second-most in history behind former Red Sox, Mets and Tigers pitcher Tracy Stallard (258 walkless plate appearances from 1960-66).
The Phillies challenged Conforto's stolen base in the seventh inning, thinking he might have come off the bag after a head-first slide. He did, and replay officials overturned the call. Conforto was out.
Phillies: The Phillies are expected to add three players for Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. ET game against the Mets at Citi Field. The Phillies have not announced the players, but smart bets are Triple-A catcher Erik Kratz, and relief pitchers Colton Murray and Dalier Hinojosa.
Mets: Kevin Plawecki, Eric Young Jr., Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Eric Campbell, Steven Matz, Erik Goeddel and Bobby Parnell will all join the Mets when rosters expand before Tuesday's game. The Mets could eventually have more than 10 September callups. With that burgeoning cast behind him, left-hander Jon Niese will start against the Phillies.
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