Colon stymies Phillies as Dom Brown sits again

Colon stymies Phillies as Dom Brown sits again
August 9, 2014, 12:00 am
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Reid Brignac strikes out looking to end the Phillies' 5-4 loss to the Mets. (USA Today Images)

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Bartolo Colon might look more like a Wing Bowl contestant than a major-league pitcher, but he had no trouble with the Phillies Friday night.

In fact, you could say he gobbled them up.

Colon, the rotund 41-year-old right-hander, pitched eight innings of one-run ball in leading the New York Mets to a 5-4 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay).

With the victory, Colon became just the third Dominican-born pitcher to reach 200 wins, joining Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (243) and future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez (219).

Colon served a suspension for testing positive for PEDs in 2012.

The Mets have won 11 of their last 13 games in Philadelphia, dating to last season.

Colon left with a 5-1 lead after eight innings and the Mets’ bullpen nearly coughed up the lead. The Phillies rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Jenrry Mejia stopped the rally by striking out pinch-hitter Reid Brignac looking at a third strike as the tying run stood on third base.

Grady Sizemore provided the big hit in the ninth, a hard-hit, two-run double off the right-field wall with no outs.

Mets rightfielder Curtis Granderson then made a diving catch on Carlos Ruiz’s sinking liner to save a run. If that ball dropped in, the Phils might have had their second late win in as many nights.

Sizemore’s double was his only hit of the night. He is 28 for 85 (.329) with seven doubles and one home run in 23 games with the Phillies. He has been the Phillies’ starter in left field eight of the last nine games as Domonic Brown’s playing time has shrunk.

Brown, hitting .228 in 107 games, struck out as a pinch-hitter in Friday night’s game. He has been out of the starting lineup nine straight games, though three of those non-starts came over the weekend in Washington when he was being treated for a tonsil infection.

Asked about his health before Friday night’s game, Brown said: “I’m 100 percent. Have been for four days.” Brown was terse and he did not sound happy.

Manager Ryne Sandberg clearly likes what he’s seen of Sizemore. The Phillies swept Houston in the previous three games and Sizemore was right back in left field Friday night.

“Well, you don’t want to mess with something that’s going good, either,” Sandberg said before the game. “Domonic will get another day of batting practice under his belt.

“We'll give (Sizemore) a number of at-bats and see what he looks like for the future. He's part of a lineup that has won three straight, so that's a part of it also."

Phillies starter A.J. Burnett continued his second-half slide. He was tagged for 11 hits and five runs in six innings. His ERA in five starts since the All-Star break is a plump 6.66.

Two of Burnett’s last three starts have been losses to the Mets. In those two starts, he has pitched 11 innings and given up 19 hits and 12 earned runs.

Sandberg said Burnett was falling behind in too many counts and elevating too many pitches.

Burnett, who is 6-12 with a 4.29 ERA in 25 starts, agreed.

“That’s how it’s been the past four starts,” he said. “It’s time to get better. I’m pretty sure they didn’t bring me over here to be like this all year — inconsistent.”

Burnett allowed six hits and four runs in the fourth inning. He was still upset about that after the game. Had he limited the damage in that inning, the Phils’ rally in the ninth might have gone further.

Colon scattered six hits, walked none and struck out six in beating the Phils for the second time in his last three starts. He allowed just one run in 7 2/3 innings against the Phillies on July 28.

So in his last 15 2/3 innings against the Phils, Colon has given up just two runs.

“He has movement on his fastball — cuts it and sinks it,” Sandberg said. “And he changes speeds on his fastball. I think it’s been really hard for our hitters to gauge his fastball. It’s anywhere from 88 to 92 (mph).”

Colon actually hit 94 on the stadium radar gun in the eighth inning.

“He does a good job changing speed with his fastball,” Cody Asche said. “And I think he’s good at reading the hitter, too -- kind of like being a step ahead. I think that’s why he’s survived so long in this game and done so well. He’s tough.”

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