CLEVELAND -- Bartolo Colon achieved a meaningful milestone Friday while facing his original organization.
Also momentous: The New York Mets’ bats finally awakened with a four-homer, 14-hit barrage (albeit while going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and twice having runners thrown out at the plate).
Friday’s long-ball total exceeded the Mets’ total home-run output in their first eight games of the season (two). Actually, a three-homer fifth inning did that alone.
Colon was on the ropes in the first inning. He surrendered a two-out RBI single to Mike Napoli. Ensuing batter Carlos Santana then was awarded a two-run homer on a shot down the right-field line. However, after lobbying from manager Terry Collins, the umpires conferred and ruled Santana’s shot foul. That took two runs off the board and restored a 1-1 score.
Colon ultimately was charged with two runs on eight hits and one walk in 5⅓ innings. Antonio Bastardo stranded two baserunners inherited in scoring position from Colon in the sixth.
The only Dominican-born pitcher now with more wins than Colon is Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, with 243.
Colon made his major-league debut with the Indians on Aug. 4, 1997, against the Collins-managed Angels at Anaheim Stadium.
“It wasn’t very fun -- 98-, 97-mph, dynamic breaking ball. Just pure power. Threw strikes,” Collins recalled. “He was one of those guys that when you faced him, you better get your ‘A-game’ bats out, because he was tough to face. They had a really, really good young pitching staff back then. And he’s still a good pitcher.”
Now Colon is the oldest player in MLB, with a far more modest fastball. He turns 43 on May 24. The only active player to debut in the majors before Colon is Alex Rodriguez (in 1994, at age 18).
“Look, he knew after some of the injuries to his arm that he had to change, and did,” Collins said. “He knows when his command is on, he gets out. It’s really one of the great stories, because this guy, at his age, is still one of the most effective pitchers in this league.”
The Mets (4-5) entered the weekend with the lowest batting average and the second-lowest run total in the majors. That prompted Collins to move the 23-year-old Conforto from No. 6 to No. 3 in the order. Conforto responded with a first-inning solo homer against right-hander Cody Anderson.
De Aza, Cespedes and Walker all homered in a five-run fifth as the Mets built a 6-1 lead.
De Aza (3-for-4) started for only the second time this season, with the Mets afforded an extra bat in the lineup in the American League ballpark.
Cespedes started at DH because his legs remain sore from a dive into the stands on Wednesday at Citi Field attempting to catch a foul ball. He went 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
Walker’s homer came against left-handed reliever Ross Detwiler. The switch-hitting Walker last homered as a righty batter on Sept. 7, 2014, against Travis Wood. Walker hit .237 and was homerless in 93 at-bats against southpaws last year with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Walker is 5-for-9 against southpaws this season.
What’s next: Matt Harvey (0-2, 4.63 ERA) attempts to get on track. He opposes right-hander Josh Tomlin at 4:10 p.m. ET Saturday. The Mets appear likely to place Jacob deGrom on the disabled list and return Eric Campbell from Triple-A Las Vegas.