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Mets homer early before Colon blanks Marlins

MLB.com

MIAMI -- Home runs are coming in bunches for the Mets, and on Saturday night, Bartolo Colon, who posted New York's first shutout of the season, was the beneficiary. Travis d'Arnaud and Wilmer Flores went back-to-back and Juan Lagares tacked on another shot in the Mets' 7-0 victory over the Marlins at Marlins Park.

Given plenty of early run support, Colon posted New York's first complete game since Zack Wheeler did it on June 19, 2014, also at Marlins Park. The 42-year-old right-hander also ran his scoreless innings streak to 25, dating back to Aug. 26. The Mets have homered in five straight games, and with their three blasts off Brad Hand on Saturday, they have 67 since the All-Star break. With the win, they retained their five-game lead in the National League East over the Nationals, who beat the Braves on Saturday night.

Full Game Coverage

MIAMI -- Home runs are coming in bunches for the Mets, and on Saturday night, Bartolo Colon, who posted New York's first shutout of the season, was the beneficiary. Travis d'Arnaud and Wilmer Flores went back-to-back and Juan Lagares tacked on another shot in the Mets' 7-0 victory over the Marlins at Marlins Park.

Given plenty of early run support, Colon posted New York's first complete game since Zack Wheeler did it on June 19, 2014, also at Marlins Park. The 42-year-old right-hander also ran his scoreless innings streak to 25, dating back to Aug. 26. The Mets have homered in five straight games, and with their three blasts off Brad Hand on Saturday, they have 67 since the All-Star break. With the win, they retained their five-game lead in the National League East over the Nationals, who beat the Braves on Saturday night.

Full Game Coverage

"To have something else get in the way of what we're trying to accomplish here, and then have Bart step up and everybody else step up in the first and second inning, it got everybody's mind back into what's the most important thing, and that's playing good baseball," said Mets manager Terry Collins of Matt Harvey's innings-limit debate.

• Harvey: Andrews gave me 180-innings limit

Colon's ability to energize and entertain were on display in the sixth inning, when he made a behind-the-back flip to first base to get Justin Bour. The 42-year-old now has 36 career complete games and 13 shutouts.

• Cut4: Colon's behind-the-back flip

"He's a pitcher and he's not going to beat himself," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said of Colon. "You're going to have to beat him. His ability to stay on the corners and stay out of the middle of the plate. He adds and subtracts very well. He mixes his pitches. He understands the art of pitching. That's why he's had the success that he's had."

The Mets pounced early with four runs off Hand in the first inning, powered by d'Arnaud and Flores homers on successive pitches. The two big blasts came with two outs. d'Arnaud blasted his three-run shot to center, while Flores went deep to left-center. Flores, who has 15 homers on the season, has hit four of them off Miami in 13 games.

Video: NYM@MIA: d'Arnaud, Flores hit back-to-back homers

Lagares delivered a two-run homer in the second inning, and Hand's night was over after 1 2/3 innings and seven runs.

Video: NYM@MIA: Lagares drives a two-run shot to right

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mets duo does it again: After recently hitting back-to-back homers on Aug. 24 in Philadelphia, d'Arnaud and Flores struck again in the first inning against Hand. With two outs, d'Arnaud connected on a three-run shot that landed a projected 412 feet away from home plate and traveled at 106 mph, according to Statcast™. On the next pitch, Flores hit a blast that landed a projected 409 feet and traveled at 100 mph. The homers marked the eighth time this season the Mets have gone back-to-back -- the first time since d'Arnaud and Flores did so against the Phillies.

"I heard the dugout go crazy once I hit it," d'Arnaud said. "I was fortunate to just put a good swing on it and keep my eye on the baseball." More >

Quick hook for Hand: For the second straight start, Hand was hurt by the long ball. The three blasts allowed led to the Miami lefty being pulled after 1 2/3 innings and 48 pitches. Hand entered the game having allowed four home runs in 81 1/3 innings. In his previous start, Hand worked 4 2/3 innings in a loss at Washington, where he also gave up a key home run.

"It's frustrating. You never want to give up home runs," Hand said. "I always try to keep the ball in the ballpark, and I've done a pretty good job at that. As of late, I haven't. I need to get better and keep the ball down better."

Colon wows crowd: With two outs in the sixth, Colon displayed his athleticism when Bour dribbled a grounder up the first-base line. After quickly hopping off the mound, the righty barehanded the ball and tossed it behind his back nearly halfway down the first-base line to retire Bour. The play wowed the crowed and added some flare to Colon's spectacular night.

Video: NYM@MIA: Colon makes a superb behind-the-back play

"That was the first time," Colon said of making a behind-the-back flip in a game. "But I always practice it when I play catch with [Jeurys] Familia and [Hansel] Robles. So with the guys, I always fool around with that. I knew I could do it." More >

Ichiro's milestone with his arm: Not only can Ichiro Suzuki still run and hit, the 41-year-old also can throw. Lagares found that out in the sixth as he attempted to stretch a single into a double. Leading off the inning, Lagares ripped a grounder down the first-base line that Ichiro ran down in the corner. Never hesitating, Lagares sprinted to second, but Ichiro threw a strike for the out. The assist was the 100th for Ichiro in right field in his career. His first came on April 11, 2001. Overall, Ichiro has 115 outfield assists, including four this year. More >

Video: NYM@MIA: Ichiro throws out Lagares at second base

QUOTABLE
"We're in the middle of the biggest year we've had in a long time with the pennant race. Then we've got to be hit with a distraction. It seems like every other week something pops up that takes away the focus of what's going on here." -- Collins

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
When lefty Raudel Lazo entered to pitch the eighth inning, he became the eighth different Marlin to make his MLB debut this season. All have been pitchers.

Colon has now gone 49 1/3 innings without allowing a walk to the Marlins.

WHAT'S NEXT
Mets: On Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET, rookie lefty Steven Matz (2-0, 1.32 ERA) takes the turn of Noah Syndergaard and will make his first start since July 5. Before he went on the disabled with a lat muscle tear on July 10, Matz allowed just two runs in 13 2/3 innings, while also going 3-for-6 with five RBIs in two starts.

Marlins: Jarred Cosart (1-4, 5.36 ERA) will make his first big league start since July 4 on Sunday. The right-hander, who opened the season in the rotation, has dealt with vertigo and a right inner ear disorder. Cosart has a 3.38 ERA in two starts and 13 1/3 innings lifetime against the Mets.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.