Monday, April 6, 2015

Colon bests Scherzer in Opening Day duel

Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon spoiled the party for the Nationals on Opening Day at Nationals Park. He dominated for six innings on Monday and helped New York earn a 3-1 win despite an impressive Washington debut by Max Scherzer.
Colon allowed one run on three hits and struck out eight batters, and Scherzer wasn't bad either. The Nats' ace struck out eight while allowing four hits in 7 2/3 innings, but two errors by shortstop Ian Desmond led to three unearned runs.
"Bartolo pitched a gem," Mets third baseman David Wright said. "Bartolo did a heck of a job, and obviously matched Max Scherzer pitch-for-pitch. They made a couple miscues. Good teams take advantage of getting four outs a couple of times, and we did that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mets take advantage: Scherzer had retired 17 straight and had a no-hitter going when Curtis Granderson walked with two outs in the sixth inning. Then second baseman Dan Uggla appeared to lose Wright's ensuing popup in the sun, resulting in a fielding error on Desmond, who had ranged over from shortstop but couldn't reel the ball in. The next batter, Lucas Duda, singled home Wright and Granderson to give the Mets their first hit and first runs.
"I hit it and I was upset that I popped it up," Wright said. "But I went down to first, I try to run everything out. As I hit first, going to second, I saw a little confusion, so I wanted to make sure I got to second at least. We were fortunate that they ended up giving us an extra out, and we were able to take advantage of it."
Bryce flexes: Hitting third in the lineup, Bryce Harper broke a 0-0 tie in the fourth inning and hit a home run off Colon. It was Harper's third-career Opening Day home run.
"He's got a paint brush in his glove. I mean literally," said Harper of Colon. "He's impressive out there. He can throw every pitch for a strike. He throws that heater a lot, but it's moving, dancing all over the place. He throws that back-door cutter, throws that high heater you think you can crush, and he blows it by you. So he's pretty tough out there, so if you can get a pitch over the plate, you can do what you did."
No timely hitting for Nats: The Nationals were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position on Monday. Their biggest chance came in the first inning. They had runners on first and second with no outs. But Harper and Ryan Zimmermanstruck out and Wilson Ramosgrounded out to end the threat.
Five innings later with Colon still on the mound, the Nationals had runners on first and second with two outs when Ramos struck out to end the threat.
Age is but a number: With the Nationals' defense sullying Scherzer's final line, Colon outdueled Washington's ace. The 41-year-old right-hander struck out eight over six innings of one-run ball, the only damage coming on Harper's homer.
"He's a pro," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Colon. "He's been hit before. He's given up home runs before. We said before the game today in our meeting with the coaches, 'If we keep the ball in the ballpark, we've got a chance.' And that's all he did. He went out there and pitched." More »
With Mejia unavailable, Carlyle delivers: Learning late in the game that closer Jenrry Mejia was unavailable due to elbow stiffness, the Mets turned to Jerry Blevinsfor one out in the ninth and Buddy Carlyle for two. Carlyle, who made his Major League debut in 1999, induced two consecutive groundouts for his first career save.
"It just shows you never know what's going to happen," Carlyle said. "To get my first save is crazy." More »
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Mets improved to 35-19 all-time on Opening Day, the best mark of any Major League franchise. After losing their first eight Opening Days, the Mets have won 35 of 46.
INTERESTING DEVELOPMENT

The Mets freshened up their lineup for the season opener, batting Wright second for just the 16th time in his career.
The Mets also used Granderson at leadoff, shifting Juan Lagaresdown to No. 6. They may continue to use a similar lineup going forward. More »
WHAT'S NEXT
Reigning National League Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom will make his first start of 2015 when the Mets and Nats, following an off-day, reconvene at Nationals Park for a 7:05 p.m. ET game on Wednesday. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will get the start for Washington.The last time he pitched in a regular-season game, Zimmermann twirled a no-hitter against the Marlins on Sept. 28.

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