Walker, Conforto return and back Colon as Mets beat Bucs 6-4
NEW YORK (AP) Two hitters got healthy and Bartolo Colon kept his fans happy. All in all, a rollicking night for the New York Mets at Citi Field.
Neil Walker and Michael Conforto provided an immediate jolt in their return from nagging injuries, and Colon helped himself with a crowd-pleasing double in pitching the banged-up Mets to a 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.
''Anytime you're entertained, it helps, you know? And he's entertaining,'' manager Terry Collins said. ''We just didn't want him to blow out running around those bases.''
Curtis Granderson set a Mets record for leadoff homers, while Walker also went deep and had three RBIs against his former team after missing the previous three games with a sore lower back.
Conforto, who hadn't started since Saturday, landed on his ailing left wrist when he saved a run with a sensational diving catch in the first inning. Showing no ill effects, the left fielder followed Walker's two-run shot in the third with a home run of his own to snap a 5-for-54 slump.
''I think the four days helped a lot,'' Collins said. ''I saw much better bat speed today.''
Colon (6-3) lashed a line-drive double up the right-center alley earlier in the inning and scored easily on Yoenis Cespedes' deep sacrifice fly, drawing a giddy roar from the crowd of 33,052 following his dicey jaunt around the bases.
''I don't like to run very much, but I imagine the fans have a lot of fun watching me,'' Colon said through a translator. ''Thank God for Walker and Conforto's home runs. That gave a little bit of chance to catch my breath and I was able to come back even stronger after that.''
The beefy right-hander took a four-hit shutout into the eighth and won his third consecutive decision, a streak that began on the eve of his 43rd birthday last month.
He allowed two runs and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out a season-high eight and walking none.
''I don't think he ever ceases to amaze us,'' Walker said. ''It's pretty impressive. Everybody loves him.''
All three Mets homers came off Juan Nicasio (5-6) as the Pirates (33-33) fell to .500 with their seventh loss in eight games.
''They've got some left-handed hitters that are good down and in, and the ball ended up down and in,'' manager Clint Hurdle said.
Andrew McCutchen homered in the ninth and had three hits for Pittsburgh, ending an 0-for-18 drought that was the longest hitless stretch of his career. Matt Joyce connected for his 100th career home run.
Trailing 6-0, the Pirates chased Colon in the eighth and rallied for four runs in the final two innings. But the comeback fell short when slumping Erik Kratz flied out with a runner on third to end it.
Jeurys Familia got three outs for his major league-leading 22nd save. He has converted a club-record 38 regular-season chances in a row dating to last August - though he did blow a four-run lead in the ninth inning of a game this year.
After losing 10 of 11 to Pittsburgh, the Mets took the final two matchups in this three-game set between 2015 playoff teams. They finished 3-3 in the season series after going 0-6 last year.
Granderson hit a long drive to right-center in the first for his 41st career leadoff homer and 17th with the Mets, breaking a tie with Jose Reyes for the franchise mark.
Colon began the night batting .092 in 238 career at-bats. His double was his fourth extra-base hit and second this season, including his first major league homer. He has scored eight runs.
Pirates: LF Starling Marte sat out as the medical staff tried to reduce swelling on his face. Marte left Wednesday night's game after diving for Cespedes' single - the ball bounced in front of Marte and hit him under his left eye. ''He's doing better,'' Hurdle said.
Mets: 3B David Wright had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, and the 33-year-old captain is expected to miss most of the remainder of the season - perhaps all of it. Wright's replacement at third, Wilmer Flores, was hit by a 93 mph fastball from Nicasio in the second and left the game an inning later with a bruised left hand. X-rays were negative, the team said. ''He went in the cage to hit and he couldn't swing,'' Collins said. ''We'll hopefully get him back in there in a couple days.'' Kelly Johnson replaced Flores. ... Part-time CF Juan Lagares was placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Wednesday, with a sprained left thumb. Utility player Ty Kelly was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Pirates: A quick turnaround, with LHP Francisco Liriano (4-6, 4.92 ERA) starting Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field in the opener of a three-game series against the major league-leading Cubs. RHP Jake Arrieta (10-1, 1.86) goes for Chicago. Liriano has lost three straight starts.
Mets: After a miserable start to the season, former ace Matt Harvey (4-8, 4.66 ERA) has a 0.90 ERA in his last three outings. He faces former Mets farmhand John Gant (0-1, 5.63) and the major league-worst Atlanta Braves on Friday night at Citi Field.