To this point, it's shaping up that way in the regular season too.
"We've seen him do it since Day 1 of spring training," Girardi said afterward. "To me, it's who he is. He was a guy, he was a power arm, but he really knew how to locate and that's what he's doing."
Colon, starting in place of Phil Hughes, who is on the disabled list trying to find his velocity, allowed two runs and five hits in 62/3 innings. Using a fastball that at times reached 94 mph -- "for the most part he was fastball dominant," catcher Russell Martin said -- and pinpoint control of his off-speed stuff, Colon struck out seven and walked two. It was his first victory since May 26, 2009 against the Angels.
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"It's very special for me," Colon said.
After allowing J.P. Arencibia's homer to lead off the second, Colon, who came in 0-1 with a 3.97 ERA in three long relief appearances, retired 12 straight, recording all of his seven strikeouts in the stretch.
"After the home run I got my pitches back and started throwing more strikes," said Colon, who had Alex Rodriguez serve as his translator when Girardi came to the mound.
"I don't think it's amazing at all, I think he's just a very, very good pitcher," said Alex Rodriguez, who returned to the lineup and was fine after missing two games with a sore oblique. "You saw what he did in '05 when he won the Cy Young. Bartolo's just a natural pitcher. He can throw forever, he has a rubber arm. He could probably throw tomorrow."
Curtis Granderson's second homer in as many nights, and sixth of the season, off Frank Francisco in the ninth made it 6-2.
Righthander Lance Pendleton, called up for Hughes, started the ninth but was pulled with one out, having walked a batter and allowing a double. Rafael Soriano walked Jayson Nix to load the bases, but got John McDonald to pop out and Yunel Escobar to fly out to end it. It was Soriano's first save as a Yankee.
Girardi said he planned to stay away from Mariano Rivera, who had pitched five of the last seven games.
None of that, however, could compete with Colon for story-of-the-night honors.
The pitcher, signed at the suggestion of bench coach Tony Pena -- who managed Colon in winter ball -- said he had doubts, because of his past injuries and some family issues, if he'd ever see the majors again.
"It crossed my mind that I might never play again," he said.
Now Colon's in the Yankees' rotation and Girardi sounded prepared to play the hot hand as long as is feasible.
"If a guy's throwing well, obviously you don't want to take him out of the rotation if he can continue to do this," Girardi said.