PHILADELPHIA -- The Mets opened the second half of their season Friday night tied for the second National League Wild Card. Of course, they want better than that, and New York hopes a 5-3 victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park is the beginning of a run at the first-place Nationals in the National League East.
Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon carried a perfect game into the fifth inning as Neil Walker hit a three-run home run in the sixth to give New York a 4-0 lead. The Mets trail the Nationals by six games.
"Two years ago we thought Juan was going to be an outstanding offensive player," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's done a nice job when he's been in there. Right now with Ces's leg, we've certainly got to take a look at seeing if Juan should see some more playing time."
The rebuilding Phillies entered the second half hoping to make a long-shot run at a postseason berth. But despite cutting the lead to 4-3 in the sixth -- highlighted by Peter Bourjos' RBI triple -- they could not get any closer.
"This is one of the better teams in the league and we compete with them every time we play them, so I feel like we can definitely do it," Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson said. "We've just got to string some wins together like we did in the first half. Obviously it wasn't a good start today, but I absolutely think we can make a run at it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bart-almost perfect: Well, not quite. But Colon did retire the first 13 batters he faced before Cameron Rupp broke up the 43-year-old's perfect game bid with a one-out single in the fifth. Things quickly went south from there, however. Colon retired 16 of the first 18 Phillies, but then five of the next six reached base. James Loney was charged with an error that put Odubel Herrera on first with one out in the sixth to ignite the Phillies' three-run inning as Colon exited with two outs in the inning.
Collins reasoned that the high humidity and 90-degree gametime temperature might have worn Colon down as the game went on. He left after 78 pitches. Colon admitted he was tired, but not because of any weather conditions, which the Dominican is used to.
"Everything worked out for the most part," Colon said through an interpreter. "Just around the fifth and sixth inning, I got a little tired. That's when things got a little complicated."
Mistakes cost Hellickson: Hellickson enters what could be his final couple of weeks with the Phillies. He is a free agent after the season, and the Phillies could trade him to a contender before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Hellickson allowed just one run through five innings before Walker hit a three-run home run to left in the sixth.
"I felt great," Hellickson said. "I just got a little gassed at the end. Leadoff man on the last two innings, I was working way too hard." More >
Take it to the Bank: Walker's sixth-inning blast was the Mets' 14th home run at Citizens Bank Park this season. They haven't hit more than seven at any other road ballpark. With five more games left in Philadelphia this season, the Mets are five away from their number at Citizens Bank Park in 2015 (19), which was nine more than they hit at any other road ballpark last season.
"It tends to be a pretty good ballpark in the middle of summer with the temperature and humidity," Walker said. "As a guy who hits a lot of flyballs, I've been pretty fortunate with the results I've had here this year." More >
Bourjos, Asche stay hot: Two of the reasons the Phillies' offense has picked up the past few weeks has been the hitting of outfielders Bourjos and Cody Asche. After Bourjos' triple in the sixth, Asche's bloop single to left later in the inning scored the Phillies' third run of the night.
"We bounced back, that was nice to see," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
"He's not the guy I wanted to see coming out of the break because he's such a good pitcher. He knows what he's doing. He just kind of stifled us for a while there." -- Mackanin, on Colon
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Mets closer Jeurys Familia passed Brad Lidge for sole possession of fifth place on the all-time consecutive saves list, converting his 48th straight and 32nd this season. Next up is John Axford, who converted 49 straight.
Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco had his 10-game hitting streak snapped.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets:Logan Verrett (3-6, 4.34 ERA), normally a bullpen arm and spot starter, makes his second straight start on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET, facing a Phillies team against which he pitched six shutout innings back in April. He pitched a season-high 6 2/3 innings in his last outing, though he allowed five runs in a 6-1 loss to the Nats.
Phillies: Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff pitches the second game of the three-game series against the Mets on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. Eickhoff went 6-10 with a 3.80 ERA in the first half, but don't let the win-loss record fool anybody. He might have been the Phillies' best and most consistent pitcher before the All-Star break.