The Mets (26-18) cruised to a 7-1 win over the Nationals (27-18) in the opening game of a three-game set in the nation’s capital.
Bartolo Colon threw a gem for the Mets on the eve of his 43rd birthday. The Ageless One allowed 1 run on 5 hits in 7 quick innings, striking out 2 and walking 2 on 90 pitches.
The game was delayed an hour due to rain. Once things got underway, the Mets looked all set to jump on Gio Gonzalez early when Curtis Granderson singled to start the ballgame and Juan Lagares reached on a well-placed dribbler. But the Washington lefty held his ground, striking out David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes before getting Neil Walker to ground out and strand the runners. The Nats then took the lead in the bottom of the first on singles from Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman.
But after a disappointing start to the game, the heart of the order made up for it, and then some. After Granderson was plunked in the third and Lagares got his second hit, Wright continued his recent revival with a three-run homer to left that put the Mets in front. Consecutive singles from Cespedes, Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera plated a fourth run and Eric Campbell made it 5-1 with a sacrifice fly.
The Mets extended their lead in the 5th on back-to-back solo shots from Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker, and the 7-1 score held the rest of the way, as Jerry Blevins and Logan Verrett tossed scoreless frames in relief of Colon.
What a great job by Bartolo. He made it all look easy tonight, despite being squeezed at times by the umpire, who had a strange and inconsistent strike zone to say the least. Colon gave the Mets 7 innings which was huge in that it let Terry Collins rest his bullpen— and the big righty probably could have gone eight or nine.
UPDATE: Bartolo felt some back stiffness, which contributed to his relatively early exit. He had no interest in hitting tonight, though. I don’t think the bat left his shoulder once.
UPDATE: Bartolo said he told the Nationals’ catcher he promised not to swing. Actually.
The Captain came up big as well. After failing to produce in the first inning with guys on base, he produced as much as possible in his next at-bat, plating both runners as well as himself. He made solid contact later in the game and looked good in the field as well. After a walkoff hit in the series against the Brewers, David looks to be on the right track. His blast tonight was his 240th, putting him 12 behind Darryl Strawberry for the franchise record.
Cespedes is just unreal. He now leads the league in home runs and RBI and has his batting average up over .300.
Walker’s home run was a nice sign, as he looks to be turning it around after a rough patch to start the month of May. With Lucas Duda out, Walker will need to step up in the #5 hole.