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Colon pitches into 8th inning, Mets blank Pirates 5-0 behind homers from Wright and Duda

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - It's no secret: Bartolo Colon simply sticks with his fastball.

He runs it, sinks it, spots it right on the corner or just above the hands.

So the Pittsburgh Pirates went into Wednesday's game well aware their mound opponent was relying on that heater some 90 per cent of the time this season. Still, they couldn't do much with it.

Colon carried a three-hitter into the eighth inning, and the New York Mets got home runs from David Wright and Lucas Duda in a 5-0 victory over the sloppy Pirates.

"It's impressive to watch from third base," Wright said. "You look up at the scoreboard and it's high 80s, low 90s (mph) fastball. He throws a lot of them, but he just knows exactly where it's going and he just dissects hitters."

Pitching four days after his 41st birthday, Colon (4-5) struck out a season-high nine — seven looking — in his second consecutive win.

Wright added an RBI single during an eventful afternoon in which he also stole a base, made two throwing errors and robbed Andrew McCutchen of extra bases with a diving play near the line.

New York salvaged the final two games of a 4-5 homestand after firing batting coach Dave Hudgens and replacing him with minor league hitting co-ordinator Lamar Johnson.

"I didn't expect anybody to kind of hang their heads about it," Wright said. "Hopefully, the transition to LJ is going to be a smooth one. He's off to a good start."

The Mets improved to 13-17 at Citi Field, winning the series against Pittsburgh for their first back-to-back victories at home since a three-game streak from April 23-25. They open a season-high 11-game trip Thursday night with a five-game series in Philadelphia and play 25 of their next 33 on the road until July 4.

"We've played pretty good on the road, so we're looking forward to it," Duda said.

Colon reached 2,000 strikeouts when he caught ex-Met Ike Davis looking in the sixth. The burly right-hander saved the souvenir, tossing the ball to injured ace Matt Harvey in the dugout.

"Just amazing how he works both sides of the plate," Wright said. "You just see, he freezes hitters."

Colon's previous turn Friday was washed out by rain after he yielded two runs in four innings against Arizona. In his last outing that counted, he went eight innings to beat Washington 5-2 on May 17.

"He threw it where he wanted and we couldn't put anything together," Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker said.

Colon was pulled this time after 121 pitches, his most in a decade, but Jeurys Familia needed only one to get out of the eighth. He got Davis to ground into an inning-ending double play with two on, then finished the six-hitter for his second major league save and first this season.

"If they would have kept me in, I would have kept throwing," Colon said through a translator. "I don't get tired. I just want to keep going."

Charlie Morton (1-7) was chased in the sixth inning and Pirates pitchers walked eight batters. Pittsburgh fell to 7-16 away from home with another poor day at the plate and in the field.

"The defence hasn't been good," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We've got work to do."

Duda drew a leadoff walk in the second and scored after second-string catcher Chris Stewart was unable to handle a pair of wild pitches by Morton.

Pirates starter Edinson Volquez and reliever Jeanmar Gomez combined for four wild pitches with Russell Martin behind the plate in Tuesday night's 4-2 loss.

"We've got to tighten some things up and play better," Hurdle said. "They had three trips around the bases in the last two days — it was one hit."

Wright had an RBI single in the third after an embarrassing defensive sequence for the Pirates handed Daniel Murphy a Little League triple.

Murphy hit a grounder to third, and Pedro Alvarez threw high to first for an error. Murphy took off for second but the ball caromed hard off the dugout fence to Walker. He threw to second in time to get Murphy, but shortstop Jordy Mercer dropped the ball for another error that let Murphy scamper to third.

Pittsburgh appealed that Murphy never touched second base, but he was called safe.

"Sometimes he thinks he's invisible, and you have to remind him that, you know, people can see you," Wright said, drawing laughs.

Wright opened the sixth with his fourth home run. Duda added a long, two-run shot off Bryan Morris in the eighth to seal the win for Colon.

"Bartolo's just a different animal," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He just makes his pitch. He doesn't care how many he's thrown."

NOTES: Hurdle said reliever Jason Grilli is very close to regaining the closer job. ... Gerrit Cole (4-3) pitches for the Pirates when they begin a four-game series Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. ... After the game, Mets C Juan Centeno was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas to clear roster space for C Travis d'Arnaud (concussion), who returned from a rehab stint with Double-A Binghamton and is expected to be activated from the disabled list Thursday. ... Familia singled in the eighth for his first big league hit. He became the sixth Mets pitcher to earn a save this season.

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