Friday, August 8, 2014
Colon sweats ninth, notches No. 200
By Adam Rubin
PHILADELPHIA -- Jenrry Mejia converted a save and kept a promise
And that allowed countryman Bartolo Colon to become the third Dominican-born pitcher in major league history to reach 200 wins.
Colon joined Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez to reach that plateau.
"I feel really happy to be in that category," Colon said through an interpreter after the Mets held on for a 5-4 win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.
Colon, 41, departed with a four-run lead after eight innings. Dana Eveland then allowed a pair of baserunners and Mejia surrendered a single to Marlon Byrd that loaded the bases with none out in the ninth.
Colon, watching on a television in the visitors clubhouse, then held his breath as Grady Sizemore hit a deep shot. It ended up a two-run double rather than a home run. Mejia eventually stranded the tying run at third base by getting a game-ending strikeout looking against Reid Brignac.
"When Sizemore hit that almost home run, I was praying for the ball to stay in the ballpark," Colon said. "I thank Mejia for doing his job and holding his composure on the mound and closing the game."
Mejia said he promised Colon in New York that he would save No. 200. Mejia thought about that pledge with the score 5-4, two outs and the tying run at third base.
Said Mejia: "Two outs and man on third, I said, 'Oh, God, I promised it to him. I need to save this game. I don’t want Bartolo to get mad. I want to save this game."
Colon also became the third pitcher to win No. 200 in a Mets uniform, joining Orel Hershiser in 1999 and Martinez in 2006.
Colon said postgame that he had not yet received congratulations from Marichal or Martinez, "but I'm expecting a call from those guys."
While the Dominican-born Mejia said it was meaningful to have saved Colon's 200th game, the closer confessed Colon was not a boyhood idol.
"I just liked to watch Pedro Martinez," the 24-year-old Mejia said. "But I never watched Bartolo Colon. But now, I've been with Bartolo Colon and I feel very happy."
Colon, who was out of baseball in 2010, indicated the milestone was not something he thought he would achieve.
"I never thought about that," Colon said.