Colon quells skeptics with vintage performance

Right-hander allows one run over eight innings Monday vs. Marlins

Colon quells skeptics with vintage performance

MIAMI -- They'll talk about his career-high-tying sixth hit of the season, a single up the middle in the seventh inning of a blowout, because Bartolo Colon's tricks with the bat are always fun around the water cooler. But this was a serious start for Colon. And it was his pitching that made the most significant impact.

Colon fired eight innings of one-run ball in the Mets' 12-1 rout of the Marlins on Monday, at least temporarily quieting the growing chorus of skepticism surrounding his rotation status.

"That's a big outing from Bartolo," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "If you're going to stay in the race, you've got to get innings from all your pitchers. For him to get deep into the game like he did … that was a good outing tonight."

By far the most tenuous Mets starter heading into the game, Colon owned a 6.16 ERA over his last seven starts and a 5.57 mark over his last 16, dating all the way back to April 29. Had the Mets possessed more alternatives, Colon might have been out of the rotation already. But with Steven Matz and Rafael Montero both on the disabled list, the Mets had little choice but to continue sending him to the mound every five days.

The Mets were concerned and at a loss for answers, going as far as to discuss the impact of weather conditions on his 42-year-old body. And Colon was upset, saying he "couldn't wait" to work with pitching coach Dan Warthen in the bullpen after his last start: a 2 1/3-inning, six-run clunker.

Out of that session came a mechanical adjustment, with the result of peak Colon: a sinker moving and darting, and a four-seamer nicking the corners of the strike zone. The result was one of his best outings of the season, helping the Mets reclaim sole possession of first place for the first time since June 19.

"From now on, every game is important," Colon said through an interpreter. "Every game counts. And we've got to take every game like it's our last."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.