The Mets not only lost their lead Wednesday night, they lost their edge. A team built on solid starting pitching, the Mets had raced out of the gate this season to atop the National League East on those strong arms.
Bartolo Colon, the Mets’ Opening Day starter, issued his first walk since that April 6 start and was chased early as the Mets fell to the Cardinals, 9-0, at Citi Field
With the Nationals beating the Yankees in Washington, D.C. Wednesday night, the Mets dropped out of first place in the division for the first time since April 14.
Colon’s (6-3) fourth-inning walk to Matt Carpenter snapped a franchise-record 48.1 innings in the fourth inning as the Mets night fell apart.
The Mets (23-18) have lost two straight and seven of their last 10 games. The Cardinals (27-13) beat them in an unusual fashion Wednesday night.
The Mets managed just four hits off Carlos Martinez and the Cardinals bullpen and were shutout for the fourth time this season. Their struggling offense has now scored three or fewer runs in 16 of their last 22 games and for the 23rd time overall this season.
The anemic offense is expected these days, but seeing a starter get shelled and chased early definitely is not. For the second straight night, and for Colon’s second straight start, the Mets watched as their much ballyhooed pitching was battered.
Colon, who was the first pitcher in the majors to six wins this season, allowed a season-high tying six runs for the second straight start. He gave up 11 hits, walked two and struck out four in 4.1 innings.
It was Colon’s shortest start of the season and his shortest since Aug. 13, 2013 with the Athletics when he left a start after just four innings. After that start, Colon was diagnosed with a groin injury.
While Colon had had an occasional bad start in 2014, this was the first time as a Met that he had back-to-back starts in which he was hit hard. On Friday he was blistered by the Brewers for six runs on seven hits. He lasted five innings in that start.
Wednesday night, he really did not have a chance to get that far, he was hit hard from the start.
Kolton Wong led off the game with a single and scored on Jhonny Peralta’s ground-rule double to center field.
The soon-to-be 42-year old, battled through the next two innings before getting beaten in the fourth. Jason Heyward hammered a fly ball to right field for a solo homer to lead off the inning. Randal Grichuk reached on Eric Campbell’s throwing error and advanced on Carlos Martinez’s sacrifice bunt. Wong singled in Grichuk before Colon really lost it.
A master of commanding his fastball, Colon then walked Carpenter on just five pitches – his first walk since he issued a base on balls to Ryan Zimmerman on Opening Day.
Matt Holliday hit the very next pitch for a single to drive in Wong. Matt Adams homered to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead.
Colon struck out Peralta and coaxed a ground ball to third base for the final out from Yadier Molina.
After going 48.1 straight innings without giving up a walk, Colon gave up his second walk in .2 of an inning to lead off the fifth, giving Heyward the free pass. He scored on Grichuk’s double to center and that was it for Colon.
Wong singled off Jack Leathersich to put the Cardinals ahead 9-0 before he got the Mets out of the inning.
It was something of a surprise, considering Colon always seemed at his best against the Cardinals. They were the only team that he had faced multiple times without a loss. He was 4-0 against them in his career and 3-0 against them as a Met.
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