MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Marlins have been playing some great baseball but will run into one of the best veteran pitchers in the league on Wednesday.
Bartolo Colon's outstanding start already has him in legendary company.
Colon has a chance to become the second pitcher 40 or older to win five straight starts to open a season Wednesday night when the New York Mets conclude this three-game series with the Marlins.
Colon (4-0, 2.77 ERA) has joined Roger Clemens (2004) and Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan (1990) and Phil Niekro (1984) as the only pitchers 40 or older to win his first four starts of a season.
Only Clemens was able to extend his streak, winning his first seven games with Houston.
Colon has a chance to join him if he can win a third straight start against the Marlins. The right-hander has won the last two while yielding two runs in 14 2-3 innings with 12 strikeouts. He allowed one run over seven innings in a 4-1 victory in New York on April 17.
Colon followed that up six days later with a 6-3 win over Atlanta. He gave up three runs in six innings while battling a blister on his middle finger that forced him to throw fastballs on 87 of his 91 pitches.
"It only bothered me to throw breaking pitches, secondary pitches. But I don't use those, so it didn't bother me at all," Colon told MLB's official website through an interpreter.
The Mets (15-6) have alternated wins and losses for six games after falling 4-3 at Miami on Tuesday for their first loss in six season meetings.
Juan Lagares and Daniel Murphy remained hot in the loss, combining for four of the team's 10 hits.
Lagares had a game-tying bases-clearing double in the seventh, making him 9 for 17 over the past four games. The center fielder is 10 for 23 in his last five games in Miami, while Murphy is 10 for 25 (.400) with two homers and six RBIs in his last six there.
He had three hits Tuesday, improving to 6 for 11 with five RBIs in the past three games overall. The second baseman has raised his average 60 points to .205 over that span.
Miami has posted a 1.71 ERA during a 6-1 stretch after its pitchers had a 6.75 ERA during a preceding five-game skid.
Mat Latos (0-3, 7.31) gets the ball looking for his third straight effective outing. He allowed two runs over 6 1-3 innings before Martin Prado's RBI single in the eighth provided the difference in Friday's 3-2 win over Washington.
"He was battling the whole time," Prado said. "To see him work so hard like that, it's contagious. That's what we're expecting from him."
Latos has lost three consecutive starts against the Mets despite a 1.50 ERA. He didn't get any offensive support April 18, yielding two runs and six hits in five innings of a 5-4 loss at Citi Field.
Miami's Dee Gordon leads the majors with 36 hits, four back of Mike Lowell's franchise record for April set in 2002. The second baseman is hitting .467 in 10 games and he's 12 for 21 in the past five after collecting four hits in this series.
He's 10 for 17 in the last four meetings with the Mets.
"He's been phenomenal," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's doing it all. He's as advertised. We knew what we were getting when we got him and he's been a huge part of this ballclub, not just as a player, but emotionally."
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