"Of course, I'm very excited," Colon said through an interpreter. "I'm really happy about it. It's pretty neat to pass Pedro, but he's always going to be one of the big ones for us, regardless."
Colon sat at a modest 99 pitches when manager Terry Collins pulled him three outs shy of a complete game. Collins reasoned that Colon has to pitch again on standard rest Saturday at San Diego, and "he's not the youngest pitcher on our staff."
Had Colon been allowed to complete the game, he would have become the oldest pitcher since Jamie Moyer with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010 to record a shutout. Colon already owns the Mets' record for oldest pitcher to throw a shutout. He tossed one on Sept. 5 against the Miami Marlins. Colon turns 43 on May 24.
"I thought I'd be going out for the ninth. That was the manager's decision," Colon said. "The most important thing is to respect whatever the manager says."
Colon allowed six hits over the first three innings but managed to escape each time. After the rocky beginning, pitching coach Dan Warthen suggested Colon utilize a cut fastball. Colon proceeded to allow only one hit over his final five innings. He successfully neutralized Freddie Freeman and AJ Pierzynski with that pitch. Colon has used a cutter only sparingly for much of his career because he developed shoulder discomfort while throwing it back in his days with the Angels a decade ago.
"Early in the game, you're sitting there and saying, 'Well, this might not be the night,'" Collins said. "And the next thing you know, he just starts getting them out. He's truly an amazing guy. He deserves all the wins he's had."
This was Colon's third attempt to catch Pedro Martinez. His two previous starts had resulted in no-decisions.
Speaking at his locker postgame, Colon said he had not heard from the 2015 Hall of Famer.
"Whenever I tied him, he reached out on Twitter via some friends of mine. Obviously, I don't have Twitter," Colon said. "Maybe tonight he'll reach out again. We'll see."
The Mets provided Colon plenty of early support. David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda all homered against Mike Foltynewicz in a four-run first inning. The Mets sent nine people to the plate in the inning. Colon struck out to end the frame, but not before sending down the left-field line a rope that went narrowly foul.
"Even I was pretty shocked," Colon said. "I don't think I've ever hit a ball as hard as I hit that."
Colon now sits 23 wins shy of matching Marichal for the most ever by a Dominican-born pitcher. He would seem to be within striking distance of that total sometime next season, if his career continues beyond 2016.
"I can't think about that," Colon said. "You just can't get your mindset like that. Right now, I'm thinking just about 221 after tonight."