NEW YORK -- Jake Arrieta has established himself as one of the most recognizable pitchers in baseball over the past two seasons. Sporting a trendy beard and last year's National League Cy Young Award, Arrieta has emerged into a star. But for whatever reason, he can't seem to figure out Citi Field. After the Mets beat Arrieta in Game 2 of the 2015 NL Championship Series in New York, they again gave the righty trouble while earning a 4-3 win Saturday night, their third straight over the Cubs.
"Poor performance on my end," Arrieta said. "The command wasn't great, the stuff wasn't very good. Overall, just didn't give the effort my team needed tonight. I needed to be more of a stopper and put a stop to the bleeding. In the fourth, gave up a few more hits than I would've liked."
The Cubs' ace allowed at least four earned runs in his second consecutive start. He was pulled after 5 1/3 innings Saturday, allowing eight hits and two walks. New York found the scoreboard first when Neil Walker clubbed a two-run homer in the first inning. Bartolo Colon tossed six solid innings of two-run ball to earn the victory.
"You can believe you can compete, but then when you go out and do it, it means a lot," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "The confidence it sends throughout the clubhouse -- there's no other way to do it except go out there and beat one of the real, real good teams three times, and we've done that. We want to finish it off tomorrow."
The Mets have now scored at least four runs in three consecutive games, the first time they've accomplished that since May 7-9. After Anthony Rizzo tied the game in the fourth with a two-run shot of his own, Travis d'Arnaud helped the Mets regain the lead with a two-run single that hit off second baseman Javier Baez's bare hand.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Old reliable: Colon earned his first career regular-season win over the Cubs, working an effective six innings. He threw 100 pitches and allowed four hits and two earned runs. While Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz have dealt with injury and consistency issues, Colon has been steady in the rotation. He pounded the zone with 45 straight fastballs to start the game. More >
"The key is to throw strikes," Colon said through a translator. "A team like the Cubs, who are aggressive at home plate, you have to try to get ahead of the batters."
"Throughout the whole game he had pinpoint control," d'Arnaud said. "The one he left over the middle was the one to Rizzo. He was ready for it, so you just have to tip the cap there. Bartolo knew that -- he just shook it off and attacked the next guy."
Where's the quality start? Arrieta was unable to post a quality start in his third straight outing. The right-hander was charged with four runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings, and his ERA jumped to 2.33. He's been mentioned as a candidate to start the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 12 for the NL. He'll make one more start before then on Friday against the Pirates.
"It's frustrating to him because he is such a perfectionist and works so diligently and well," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I have all the faith they'll get it correct and right. Nobody's perfect, man. You have to keep fighting through it." More >
d'Arnaud with d'hit: After Walker and Rizzo traded two-run homers, d'Arnaud's single in the fourth gave the Mets the lead for good. The catcher blooped the ball to center field, and two runs scored when Baez reached out with his bare hand but couldn't make the play. d'Arnaud now has six RBIs this season. Collins has spoken of moving the catcher up in the lineup at some point, but d'Arnaud said he isn't concerned with that.
"Those are things I can't control," he said. More >
20-60: Rizzo tied the game at 2 with a two-run homer in the fourth, driving in Kris Bryant, who had singled. It was Rizzo's 20th homer of the season and raised his RBI total to 60. Bryant has 61 RBIs, and this is the first time the Cubs have had multiple players with 60 by the All-Star break since 1970, when Billy Williams (80) and Jim Hickman (63) did it.
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In each of Arrieta's last two starts against the Mets, he's given up a first-inning two-run homer to their second baseman. On Saturday, it was Walker. In Game 2 of the 2015 NLCS, it was Daniel Murphy -- now with the Nationals -- who connected.
Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning because of right rib cage soreness. He was to be re-examined on Sunday, but Maddon said Coghlan may be headed to the disabled list. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs:Jon Lester, named the National League Pitcher of the Month for June, will make his first July start in the series finale Sunday at Citi Field. He is 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three career regular-season starts against the Mets. First pitch will be at 12:10 p.m. CT.
Mets: Syndergaard will toe the rubber for the Mets in the final game of the four-game series at 1:10 p.m. ET. The hard-throwing righty lasted just three innings and allowed five runs in his last start, initially denying reports he was pitching with a bone spur in his elbow before later admitting to it. Syndergaard said the injury is something he can pitch through, though.