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Nats 5, Mets 4: Colon perfect; Soup's up!

VIERA, Fla. -- Bartolo Colon's first Grapefruit League start was perfect.

Colon retired all six batters he faced, but the Washington Nationals rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Mets 5-4 on Thursday night. Kila Ka'aihue delivered a go-ahead two-run homer against Cory Mazzoni in the seventh.

John Mayberry Jr. produced a second-inning solo homer against debuting Max Scherzer, and Eric Campbell added a two-run homer and Anthony Recker an RBI single an inning later against 15-game-winner Tanner Roark as the Mets had opened a 4-0 lead.

Bartolo Colon

Bartolo Colon

#40 SP
New York Mets

2014 STATS

  • GM31
  • W15

  • L13

  • BB30

  • K151

  • ERA4.09

Colon coaxed three straight groundouts to second base in the first inning, by Denard Span, Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper. He retired Ryan Zimmerman on a soft liner to second base to open his second frame, then struck out Wilson Ramos and Ian Desmond to complete his outing. Colon threw 23 pitches (18 strikes).

“I felt pretty good today, but I’m not quite there yet -- season-ready,” Colon said through an interpreter. “I didn’t throw everything I needed to throw. It was my first time facing batters. But I was pretty happy with what I did. I had good control of all of my pitches.”

Colon went 15-13 with a 4.09 ERA in 31 starts for the Mets last season. He exceeded 200 innings for the first time since 2005.

Colon is due to earn $11 million in 2015.

Asked if he can duplicate his 2014 performance given his age, Colon -- who turns 42 on May 24 -- joked about his upcoming birthday: “I’m not sure if it’s 42 or 41, but I will go as long as, god-willing, I can play and my body lets me do it. For my age, throwing 200 innings, that’s something almost unheard of. I was very proud of it. That’s one of my goals for this year.”

Team sources have said the Mets are open to trading Dillon Gee or Colon this spring training, although Gee would seem more likely to go if either departs.

Terry Collins said he was surprised interest from other teams didn’t exist for Colon during the offseason. Still, Collins added: “I think people were scared off because he’s 42 and he’s thrown a whole bunch of innings in his career and he’s got a price tag that’s pretty good. Economics have a lot to do with the game.”

Meanwhile, the Mets used a DH on Thursday, so there were no batting opportunities for Colon.

Colon acknowledged telling hitting coach Kevin Long that he would increase last year’s two-hit total to three this season.

“Yes, since I only did two last year, I’m making one more this year,” he said.

Colon’s next start lines up for Tuesday. Collins said Colon will bypass the trip to ESPN Wide World of Sports to face the Atlanta Braves and instead oppose minor leaguers that day. At his request, Colon in that next outing likely will exceed three innings -- the generally prescribed workload for a second spring-training start.

Odds & ends: Hansel Robles surrendered two third-inning runs. After successfully converting from starting to relief at Double-A Binghamton last season, Robles returned to the 40-man roster early in the winter. … Josh Edgin inherited the bases loaded from Gabriel Ynoa with two outs in the fourth. Ex-Cincinnati Reds switch-hitter Derrick Robinson greeted Edgin with an infield single to slice the Mets’ lead to 4-3. Edgin followed by coaxing an inning-ending flyout to center from Rendon. The southpaw stayed in and posted a scoreless fifth. … Ex-Met Heath Bell struck out three and walked two in a scoreless frame for the Nats.

What’s next: Matt Harvey Day! Harvey will oppose Detroit Tigers ace David Price at 1:10 p.m. Friday at Tradition Field. It will mark Harvey’s first game since Aug. 24, 2013. Noah Syndergaard will follow Harvey on the mound. The sons of slain NYPD officer Rafael Ramos will serve as bat boys.