The Mets again were left to follow Bartolo Colon's lead. It just was in a different way than they had hoped. Instead of celebrating the great memory of his 200th career victory, they had to try to copy his ability to forget.
"Once they pull me out of the game, I'm done. I don't think about it anymore," the 41-year-old said at the end of a day that the Mets couldn't put behind them quickly enough.
Colon was hit hard and the Mets hit almost nothing against Madison Bumgarner in a 9-0 loss to the Giants Sunday at Citi Field.
Aside from vowing to be more focused in a noon game Monday, there was nothing they could do but shrug it off, the way Colon has learned to do.
He didn't make it through the fifth inning in his bid to become only the third pitcher to earn his 200th victory as a Met (Orel Hershiser and Pedro Martinez were the others) and the third Dominican-born pitcher to achieve that total (Juan Marichal and Martinez).
What he got instead was his 137th loss, one worth forgetting, as he allowed six runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He allowed home runs by Hunter Pence (who added a second one in the ninth) and Brandon Belt and RBI doubles by Pence and Buster Posey (who also homered and had two singles). Pence and Posey totaled seven hits and seven RBIs.
Rather than keeping batters off balance with late movement that brushes the sides of the plate, his pitches kept catching the middle -- and the thick part of Giants' bats. That happened after two efficient scoreless innings. "I think I was pitching just the same. I think the batters just adjusted and the batters started hitting the ball," Colon (10-9) said through an interpreter.
His rough outing looked even worse in harsh contrast with the dominance of Bumgarner (13-8). The lefthander required only 94 pitches to complete a two-hitter -- a double by Wilmer Flores in the third and a broken-bat single by David Wright in the seventh -- and strike out 10. "Today was just one of those days when Bart didn't have it and offensively, we didn't have it," Wright said.
Said Bumgarner, "When you're feeling good on days like today, you can go after guys. Especially when they give you a lead like that, it makes it a whole lot easier, too."
Flores said Bumgarner's cutter was strong, especially because he mixed it well with his changeup. "And we were chasing a lot," Flores said.
The Mets have had only eight hits in the first three games of this series. Ryan Vogelsong and Bumgarner have pitched two-hitters, marking only the third time that has ever happened in a series against the Mets. The first two, in 1963 and 1965, involved Sandy Koufax.
"Obviously, we're not putting very good swings on balls we can handle. But there's a reason that team was put together the way it was on the other side of the field," said Terry Collins, who had a starting lineup designed to rest three of his hottest hitters, Daniel Murphy, Travis d'Arnaud and Lucas Duda.
Ultimately, the Mets of tomorrow are meant to be like the current Giants -- big-time pitching staff, a couple of standout hitters and some solid role players. Right now, the Mets just want to shake off Sunday, the way Colon rolls with everything, including rumors that he was going to be traded before last Thursday's deadline.
He wasn't worried. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm a Met," he said, "and whatever the Mets decide to do with me, that's their business. I understand."