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Bartolo Colon isn’t too old to try new things.
The big right-hander tossed five-hit ball and struck out eight in seven sharp innings, Michael Cuddyer hit a long homer and the NL East-leading New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-4 on Wednesday night. Colon (11-11) bounced back from a rough outing in Colorado, helping the Mets improve to 18-6 since July 31. They took a 6 1-2 game lead over second-place Washington, which lost 6-5 to San Diego.
The Mets have dominated the Phillies, winning eight straight, 11 of 12 this season and 23 of the last 28 meetings. They will go for a four-game sweep Thursday night with plenty of visiting fans
New York (70-56) leads the East by 6 1/2 games over second-place Washington and is on the verge of its second seven-game winning streak this month after beating the Phillies 9-4 on Wednesday.
The Mets’ current run includes three wins each over Colorado and Philadelphia (50-77), occupants of last place in the West and East. Following the conclusion of this four-game series, New York’s next nine games come against last-place Boston, the Phillies and Miami before a series with the Nationals that may lose its importance to the division race.
The Mets have won 28 of the last 35 matchups with Philadelphia, including eight straight for their longest winning streak in the series since a 10-game stretch from 1971-72. New York is making itself at home at Citizens Bank Park, winning 17 of the last 20.
The Phillies have dropped six of seven at home and are turning to Aaron Harang (5-14, 4.67), who’s tied with Milwaukee’s Matt Garza for the most losses in the majors. The right-hander is 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA in his past four starts
The Mets have scored 64 runs during a six-game winning streak. They have 84 hits and are batting .347 in those games.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz (lat muscle) allowed one hit over six scoreless innings in a rehab outing for Double-A Binghamton against Erie. He struck out six and walked none, throwing 41 of 56 pitches for strikes. The promising rookie could return to the major league rotation by next week. … 3B David Wright had a scheduled day off. He was 2 for 9 with a homer in his first two games back after missing four months because of a back issue.
Phillies: 3B Maikel Franco (left wrist fracture), on the DL since Aug. 12, is expected to return this season, according to interim manager Pete Mackanin.
Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (8-9, 3.80) faces Phillies RHP Aaron Harang (5-14, 4.67) in the series finale. Niese is 10-6 with a 2.77 ERA in 21 career starts vs. Philadelphia. The Mets are 7-0 in his last seven starts against the Phillies. Harang is 6-7 with a 3.94 ERA in 15 starts vs. New York.