- 142 wins
- 110 wins
NEW YORK -- Bartolo Colon provided everything the Yankees could have asked for in his first start coming off the disabled list, hurling six scoreless innings in a 5-2 win over the Mets on Saturday at Citi Field.
Sidelined since June 11 with a left hamstring strain, Colon proved that missing a couple of starts didn't affect him much. The right-hander scattered five hits in the winning effort, walking none and striking out six, as he resumed his candidacy for a Comeback Player of the Year award.
"He's unbelievable. I've been saying that all year," Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez said. "I haven't played with a guy as unique as him. He throws the ball at amazing pace, and he's a dream to play behind."
On a day when the Mets lost dynamic leadoff hitter Jose Reyes to a first-inning hamstring injury, their lineup spent much of the afternoon muttering about Colon's baffling array, mostly delivered with trademark pinpoint control.
"I always throw strikes," Colon said through an interpreter. "Today, I threw a lot of breaking balls. It happens a lot. I feel really good, but the important thing is the team won the game."
En route to their seventh consecutive win and their 17th in the last 21 games, the Yankees celebrated their season's halfway point by backing Colon with a four-run sixth inning off Dillon Gee, who struggled his third time through the batting order.
Curtis Granderson started the scoring by belting a changeup for his 22nd homer, a solo shot into the Mets' bullpen in right-center field. It was Granderson's first roundtripper since June 14 against the Rangers.
"I know I'm not going hit a ton of them, so I just kind of take them when they come," Granderson said. "I'm not a guy that can go out there and do it, I've just got to let it happen."
Robinson Cano rattled a two-run triple into the right-field corner that brought home Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, and Nick Swisher added a sacrifice fly later in the inning.
Gee allowed seven hits, walking three and striking out seven in his first career outing against the Yankees.
"He had us all off-balance, and was putting up zeroes just as quickly as Bartolo was," Granderson said. "For some reason, we were just able to put the ball in play."
Enjoying a breakout Subway Series, Eduardo Nunez slugged a ninth-inning homer, his third, off Tim Byrdak.
It completed a 3-for-4 day for Nunez, who was robbed of an extra-base hit by a leaping Justin Turner grab in the sixth inning -- the only out that Nunez has made in eight plate appearances in Queens.
"It's exciting because it's my first experience with Citi Field," Nunez said. "I've never hit here before, and I feel great right now. These two games are good."
Nunez's playing time will be reduced when Derek Jeter returns from his Minor League rehabilitation assignment, though manager Joe Girardi said that will create a dilemma of how to keep Nunez's bat warm.
As Nunez put it, "It's my job right now. When Jeter comes back, I'll have to make adjustments."
That adds to the issues that the Yankees are trying to figure out with their rotation, though Colon is making decisions easy in his case.
"Hopefully, the hamstring thing is behind him and he's going to be healthy for us the rest of the season," Teixeira said. "He's huge to have in our rotation, because we need top-line pitchers like that in our division."
Swapped out for right-hander Brian Gordon on Saturday afternoon, Girardi said that he was expecting about 80 pitches and six innings from Colon, and that was exactly what the burly hurler gave him, winning his fourth consecutive start.
"He likes to run that fastball back over the outside corner -- just run it back about a foot," said the Mets' Jason Bay. "Out of his hand, that thing looks like he pulled it in our dugout, and all of a sudden, bam, it's dotting the outside corner."
Colon said that he thought about the hamstring a little bit when he got to the bullpen mound, but quickly put it out of his mind and went to work. If there was any lingering doubt, the Yankees were none the wiser, as it turned out.
"He's been like that the whole year," catcher Russell Martin said. "It's definitely nice to see him in tip-top shape and come right back like that, but I wasn't really surprised."
Now the owner of 13 consecutive scoreless innings, Colon's biggest trouble spot came in the fifth. Bay reached on an infield hit, and both Lucas Duda and Josh Thole rapped more convincing singles to the outfield grass.
Playing under National League rules, Colon took advantage of facing the .043-hitting Gee, who connected with a sinking two-seamer, bouncing it to third base for an inning-ending double play.
"That was very big for me and for the team, because the next inning, that's when we started scoring runs," Colon said.
Making his first appearance since being re-acquired by the Yankees, Sergio Mitre permitted two run-scoring groundouts in the ninth inning.
The victory improved the Yankees to a season-high 19 games over .500, bidding farewell to a first 81 games that featured their share of stressful moments. But with a season-high win streak and the AL's best record, how much could they complain?
"I'm pleased with the way that we've played," Girardi said. "Our guys have kept at it. We've had some tough series that they've had to overcome. And they've done that. I give them a lot of credit. They're businesslike and they go to work every day."