There was electricity in the air prior to the game’s first pitch. There was electricity in the air nearly three hours later. What happened in between was anything but electric.
On a night when Phillies fans came to the ballpark to celebrate the career of a beloved alumnus, a portly 41-year old stole the show.
Bartolo Colon dominated over eight innings – earning his 200th career win – as the New York Mets held on to beat the Phillies, 5-4. In achieving the milestone, Colon became only the third Dominican-born pitcher to amass at least 200 career wins. The other two are Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (243) and Pedro Martinez (219) who will more than likely be inducted next year.
Colon held the Phillies off-balance most of the night with his assortment of four-seam fastballs, cutters, and sliders. The Phillies had their work cut-out for them as Colon consistently changed speeds on his fastball to go along with his pinpoint control.
Marlon Byrd spoiled Colon’s bid for his thirteenth career shutout with a long home run to left field leading off the seventh inning.
Phillies’ starter A.J. Burnett was locked in a scoreless duel with Colon until the fourth inning, when the Mets suddenly decided to resume pre-game batting practice. The Mets sent eight men to the plate, scoring four runs on six hits. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud led off the top of the fifth inning with a home run, giving the Mets – what seemed like – an insurmountable 5-0 lead.
The Mets had Burnett on the ropes for most of the night. He allowed thirteen base runners over his six innings of work. Burnett retired the Mets in order only once.
The New Yorkers seemed to have the game under full control when manager Terry Collins decided to pull Colon after 107 pitches in favor of lefty Dana Eveland. Chase Utley promptly greeted the journeyman with a ringing double to right, which was followed by a four-pitch walk to Ryan Howard. Collins had seen enough.
Closer Jenrry Mejia was summoned to put out the fire. Byrd, however, singled on the very first pitch to load the bases for Grady Sizemore. Sizemore ripped a screaming liner three-quarters of the way up the right field wall for a two-run double. Three feet higher and it’s a game-tying grand slam.
The game changer came on the very next pitch. Catcher Carlos Ruiz punched a blooper to shallow right field. The fever pitch was put on pause as 32,307 fans collectively held their breath. Right fielder Curtis Granderson broke quickly and made a sliding, tumbling catch. Byrd, who was playing half way, could not score.
Cody Asche hit a run-scoring ground out to bring the Phillies within one run. It was all up to pinch-hitter Reid Brignac to play hero on this night. It was not to be, as he watched strike three go by – sealing the win for the Mets.
This was the type of game the Phillies would win with consistency just a few short years back. However, in these parts, mediocrity reigns these days.
News & Notes
– Alumni Weekend began with the Phillies celebrating Roy Halladay. The Phillies saluted him with a pre-game video tribute. Halladay saluted the fans and former teammates with a short, heartfelt speech.
– With his two hits Friday night, Ben Revere raised his batting average to .313 – fifth highest in the National League.
– Marlon Byrd is now third in the National League with his 22 home runs.
– With three scoreless innings Friday night, the Phillies bullpen has thrown 17 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. The bullpen has not allowed a run since the eighth inning of a 4-0 loss to the Washington Nationals last Sunday.