On Friday night, Bartolo Colon took the mound for his fourth start for the Twins. He got off to a bit of a bumpy beginning when the Rangers scratched out two runs in the first to take an early lead.
Fortunately, the Twins' offense had Colon's back, as Brian Dozier and Robbie Grossman homered in the home half, giving Colon a 4-2 lead that he would not relinquish. Joey Gallo might be able to crush pitches over the batter's eye, but Colon did not give in.
Colon kept both his pitch count down and the Rangers' offense at bay, holding them to just two runs the rest of the way as the Twins went on to win, 8-4. His coaches continually checked in on him, and each time, he answered the call. "After the sixth, [Neil Allen and Paul Molitor] came up to me every single inning to make sure I was doing OK," said Colon to MLB.com's Shane Jackson. "After the eighth inning, he asked me if I was ready to go and I told him I was."
The 44-year-old veteran went the distance for the complete-game victory, making him the oldest pitcher since Jamie Moyer did it with the Phillies on June 5, 2010. In the American League, though? It hadn't happened in 25 years -- the last man that old to accomplish that feat was Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan on July 4, 1992.
This was also Colon's first win in a Twins uniform, giving him victories with 10 different organizations, just one short of the Major League record. He credited his success on Friday to the command and arm strength that have gradually returned after his multi-week hiatus between starts prior to joining the Twins.
The way that Colon carved up the Rangers lineup at his age definitely left an impression on his new teammates. "I hope a lot of young guys took note of that," said Brian Dozier. "When he's filling up the zone pitch after pitch, relying on his defense, nibbling on the outer and inner half and working in that slider and changeup in there, you can't write it any better. That's a veteran pitcher for you. He knows how to get it done and that's why he's still pitching."
An appreciative Colon received a standing ovation from the hometown fans at Target Field following his turn-back-the-clock performance. "It feels good, it's good for me and it's good for my team," Colon said. "I just have to thank the fans. That was awesome."
That's the power of Bart.