Colon snaps skid at plate, picks up RBI single
Right-hander's last RBI came in 2005 with Angels
ATLANTA -- Limbs flailing, Bartolo Colon stuck his bat into the strike zone as his helmet flew off, his body almost tumbling toward Alex Wood's first-pitch fastball. Bat met ball. Colon began grinning. And somehow, some way in the fifth inning of Sunday's 4-3 Mets win over the Braves, he emerged with a hit.
Colon's improbable single resulted in his first RBI in nearly a decade, since he last drove in a run as a member of the Angels against the Mets on June 10, 2005. It also snapped a personal 0-for-37 streak at the plate, and gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. Standing on first base with his hands still stinging and his bat possibly broken, Colon grinned some more, while his teammates whooped and hollered from the dugout.
"I don't know if he broke his bat or not," teammate Michael Cuddyer said. "But if he did, it died a hero."
Cuddyer was just one of many yukking it up about Colon's hit both during the game, and afterward in the clubhouse. The 41-year-old's at-bats have long since become must-see television, thanks to his awkward swings and inability to keep his helmet fixed atop his head. After Colon finished 2-for-62 last year during his first full National League season, new Mets hitting coach Kevin Long jokingly challenged Colon to finish with three hits this summer.
One down, two to go.
But Colon's hit provided more than mere comic relief. At the time, it also gave the Mets a one-run lead as they sought to avoid a sweep. So as much as the Mets tried to laugh -- and they certainly did, with manager Terry Collins joking that he considered letting Colon hit with the bases loaded in the eighth, and Colon comparing his single to Luis Gonzalez's championship-winning bloop off Mariano Rivera in the 2001 World Series -- a part of them couldn't help but be genuinely impressed.
"When he puts it in play, he gets a cheer," Collins said. "So when he gets a hit, he gets a double cheer."
Even more important to the Mets was how Colon pitched. Fresh off six standout innings on Opening Day, Colon gave up three runs in seven innings this time, though the Mets might have avoided two of them had Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada been able to complete a second-inning double play. As it was, Colon still needed only 77 pitches to complete his work, throwing 60 of them for strikes.
"It would have been a total different story if it had been a double play, but I can't control that," Colon said through an interpreter. "I had to execute pitches and do my job. And I was happy with the results."