Colon throws 8 shutout innings, Mets beat Phillies 3-1
NEW YORK (AP) Just like all his (much) younger teammates, Bartolo Colon loves to face the Phillies.
Colon breezed through eight snappy innings and the New York Mets got homers from Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto, extending their dominant run against Philadelphia with a 3-1 victory Monday night.
New York increased its NL East lead to 6 1-2 games over second-place Washington, which lost 8-5 in St. Louis.
''I feel really proud,'' Colon said through a translator. ''The team needed a day like today, especially the bullpen.''
The Mets improved to 13-1 against last-place Philadelphia this season with their 10th consecutive win over their division rival. They have won 24 of 29 versus the Phillies dating to last year.
After throwing seven shutout innings last Wednesday in Philadelphia during New York's four-game sweep, the 42-year-old Colon (12-11) was one better this time. He struck out nine, walked one and yielded four harmless singles on an 89-degree night, pushing his scoreless streak to a season-high 16 innings.
''He's incredible,'' Conforto said. ''He's masterful with the way he pitches, so it's very fun to watch.''
The beefy right-hander tossed an inning Saturday against Boston on his regular throw day to spare a tired bullpen, his first relief appearance since April 2011 with the Yankees. And he even helped himself at the plate Monday, hitting a two-out single in front of Granderson's 23rd homer.
''I think he got a little frustrated when he went through that streak where things weren't working very good. And the last two times out, he's actually thrown a couple times between starts,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ''The fact he's throwing a bit more, he's found his command, he's found his release point. He's pitched great.''
Colon was lifted for a pinch-hitter after throwing 73 of 100 pitches for strikes - and closer Jeurys Familia immediately loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth. But he broke Jeff Francoeur's bat on a run-scoring double play, then won an eight-pitch standoff with Andres Blanco.
Blanco nearly hit a tying homer, but threw his head back in disappointment when his drive curled just foul in the right-field corner. Familia fanned Blanco with a 99 mph fastball for his 36th save in 41 attempts, ending a crisp game that took only 2 hours, 23 minutes.
Conforto hit a solo shot off fellow rookie Jerad Eickhoff (1-2) in the fifth, an opposite-field drive to left-center. Colon singled for his career-best seventh hit of the season, and Granderson homered to right.
''I'm happy with Eickhoff's performance. He pitched really well,'' Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. ''I think he learned that you can't take pitchers for granted, especially a guy that just swings.''
Eickhoff, acquired from Texas in the trade for Cole Hamels, allowed four hits over seven innings in his third major league start. He's lost the past two to Colon, who has won all four outings vs. the Phillies this year and is 7-1 with a 2.78 ERA against them in two seasons with the Mets.
''When he's on like tonight, his ball is moving everywhere,'' Francoeur said. ''People are like, that he throws 85 percent fastballs and that's true to an extent - but his fastball can range from 85 to 93 (mph). ... He knows how to pitch.''
Phillies: Oft-injured RHP Chad Billingsley (flexor strain) has been shut down for the season, assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said.
Mets: 1B Lucas Duda (lower back) has yet to begin swinging a bat and there is no target date for his return, Collins said. The team initially thought Duda would be able to come off the DL when he's eligible Sunday. ... Rookie LHP Steven Matz (partially torn lat muscle) also silenced Phillies hitters, allowing one hit over 5 1-3 shutout innings against their Reading affiliate for Double-A Binghamton. Matz threw 78 pitches in his fourth rehab start. The next step for him is a return to the big league rotation. ... Matz and RHP Erik Goeddel (strained right elbow) will be activated from the DL before Tuesday night's game, the Mets said.
ON THE WAY
In addition, the Mets plan to add INF-OF Eric Campbell, OF Eric Young Jr., OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis and C Kevin Plawecki when rosters expand Tuesday. INF Danny Muno was sent outright to Triple-A Las Vegas, clearing a spot on the 40-man roster.
New York went 20-8 in August, reaching 20 wins in a month for the first time since August 2000.
The Mets won a franchise-best 10 straight against Philadelphia from 1971-72. With five meetings remaining, they have matched the team mark for most wins vs. the Phillies in one season. ''We're going to take it to them the next two days,'' Mackanin said. ''We've got to beat them.''
Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (8-9, 3.95 ERA) starts the middle game of the series against RHP Aaron Harang (5-14, 4.79), who is 0-3 in five outings since beating Atlanta on July 30. New York has won Niese's last eight starts vs. the Phillies.