Kemp, Padres' offense look to bounce back after shutout
Superb pitching has the New York Mets in position to regain the NL East lead for the first time in almost six weeks.
After Noah Syndergaard turned in another brilliant performance, Bartolo Colon may need more of the same if he's going to avoid matching the longest losing streak of his career Wednesday night against the San Diego Padres.
New York (52-48) has followed a 2-6 stretch by winning three in a row behind a 1.29 ERA, with starters Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Syndergaard combining to allow two runs in 22 2-3 innings.
That's helped pull the Mets within one game of East-leading Washington ahead of a three-game series at Citi Field this weekend.
The Mets haven't been in first since June 19.
Syndergaard carried a perfect game into the seventh and left after the eighth in Tuesday's 4-0 win over San Diego (47-53).
"We've got a lot of momentum going forward," Syndergaard said.
Colon (9-9, 4.60 ERA) is 0-5 with a 5.05 ERA in his last six starts, but he's allowed two earned runs or fewer in three of those games. The Mets, however, have backed him with one run during that span, none in the past four outings.
The right-hander lost a career-high six straight decisions over eight starts with the Los Angeles Angels in 2007.
Colon limited the Los Angeles Dodgers to one run in eight innings Thursday but New York was three-hit by Clayton Kershaw in a 3-0 defeat.
He's 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA in five career starts against the Padres, giving up two runs in 7 1-3 innings of a 6-2 win in his only matchup at Citi Field on June 13, 2014.
Lucas Duda has homered on each of his three hits in 13 at-bats over the past three games. The first baseman had a two-run shot in the first inning Tuesday and he's batting .321 in 15 career home meetings with San Diego.
The Mets have 12 home runs and 22 doubles during an 8-2 stretch at home against the Padres.
Homers, though, are very tough to come by against Tyson Ross (6-8, 3.45), who has set a franchise record by going 16 straight starts without serving one up. Extending the streak would give him the longest since Roger Clemens went 19 in a row from 1990-91.
The three homers Ross has allowed this season are the fewest by any pitcher with at least 16 starts.
The right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA over his last seven starts, going 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in four on the road over that span.
Ross, though, wasn't particularly sharp in a 4-0 loss to Miami on Thursday, matching a season high with four runs allowed over 5 2-3 innings.
He's 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts against the Mets.
New York's pitchers have cooled off Matt Kemp, who is 0 for 8 in this series after hitting .413 (19 for 46) with five homers and 11 RBIs in the previous 13 games.
He's 3 for 7 versus Colon but 1 for 12 in his last three games in New York.
San Diego has lost seven of nine on the road, averaging 2.0 runs and batting .120 (6 for 50) with runners in scoring position in those games.
Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was suspended for 162 games for a second positive test for performance-enhancing substances. He appeared in seven games after serving an 80-game ban earlier this season.
"Extremely, extremely disappointed in what's happened," manager Terry Collins said.