ATLANTA -- Bartolo Colon pitched strong into the seventh inning and drove in one of the three fourth-inning runs the Mets tallied while strengthening their division lead with a 7-2 win over the Braves on Thursday night at Turner Field.
"He's one guy you can just ride him," Mets manager Terry Collins said of his starter after the game. "He just doesn't use a lot of pitches to get you deep into a game. I hope Steven Matz can do the same thing [Friday]."
After Kevin Plawecki gave the Mets a lead with a two-out, two-run single in the fourth, Colon lined an RBI single off Shelby Miller, whose winless streak was extended to 21 starts. Miller surrendered three runs over six innings and saw the Braves provide him zero runs of support for the 11th time during this maddening stretch.
Colon extended his scoreless streak to 31 innings before surrendering a pair of seventh-inning runs during his 6 2/3-inning effort. The 42-year-old pitcher's recent success has helped the Mets widen the lead atop the National League East standings. They now lead the second-place Nationals by 7 1/2 games with 22 games remaining.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Snapping the streak: Before Jace Peterson's RBI triple against Colon in the seventh, the big right-hander had not given up a run since Colorado's Nolan Arenado touched him for a two-out, three-run home run Aug. 21 at Coors Field in Denver. The 31 scoreless innings, the longest for a 42-year-old (or older) pitcher in Major League history, stretched over four starts -- against Philadelphia (twice), Miami and Atlanta -- and a one-inning relief appearance against Boston. More >
Miller's two-out trouble: With two on, two outs and Colon on deck in the fourth inning, Miller had the option to cautiously attack Plawecki and he seemingly did as his first two pitches were out of the strike zone. But the Mets catcher took advantage of a grooved 2-0 fastball by lacing it to center field. Colon followed with what proved to be the decisive RBI single.
"He gave up a check-swing single to Kelly Johnson [in the fourth] and you can't do anything about that," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Then Plawecki and Colon score those three runs. But other than that, [Miller] gave us a good opportunity to win." More >
Control freak: One of the keys to Colon's recent success is that he's not walking batters. When he carefully pitched around Freddie Freeman in the sixth in a seven-pitch at-bat that resulted in a walk, it was the first time he walked a batter since he gave Philadelphia's Ryan Howard a free pass on Aug. 31, snapping a streak of 68 straight batters faced without a walk.
"You know how good [Miller] is, so you think today is the day he's going to get his deserved win. But his fortune is just so bad right now." -- Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
"I'm really proud; I surprised myself. I didn't know at this stage of my career I could do that kind of stuff and perform like that. So I'm really happy." -- Colon, through a translator, on his 31-inning scoreless streak.
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The Braves have now lost nine straight home games, their longest such streak since the 1988 club lost its first nine home games of the season.
A downpour that soaked Turner Field just before 7 p.m. ET caused the start of Thursday's game to be delayed for two hours and 20 minutes.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: Steven Matz will take the mound when New York and Atlanta resume their four-game series Friday at 7:35 p.m. ET. Matz will be making the fourth start of his career. The 20 strikeouts he has compiled through his first three starts rank second only to Matt Harvey for any Mets pitcher through the first three starts of a career.
Braves: Atlanta will counter with Matt Wisler, who returns to the starting rotation after making an unexpected two-inning relief appearance Sunday that was aimed toward halting his recent struggles. The rookie has produced a 9.49 ERA over his past seven starts.