MIAMI (AP) - Whiffing on a lusty swing for strike three, Bartolo Colon sent his helmet flying. He sheepishly retrieved it and tugged the bill low over his eyes while walking to the dugout, as if he hoped not to be recognized.
So it goes for New York Mets pitchers at the plate.
Colon and the rest of the Mets staff remained hitless this year, and their teammates didn't fare much better against Henderson Alvarez, who pitched a six-hitter to help the Miami Marlins win 3-0 Tuesday night.
Colon (2-5) allowed three runs in seven innings. He also went 0 for 2, striking out both times, leaving Mets pitchers at 0 for 56 this season with 30 strikeouts.
Colon, a longtime American Leaguer, is 0 for 11 with eight strikeouts.
'I know that I'm not a good hitter,' he said through a translator. 'This is all new for me.'
Other Mets pitchers don't have that excuse, but with six walks this year, their on-base-plus-slugging percentage is .097. Last year Mets pitchers batted .115 to rank third-worst in NL, and tied for the major league lead at their position with 140 strikeouts.
'We stress from the first day of spring training that pitchers have to be a little more athletic, they've got to handle the bat a little bit better,' manager Terry Collins said. 'We hit every day, like everybody does. We bunt, we run the bases, we do all the things that everybody else does. We just have to put the ball in play. We've just got to change up some things when we get home, and see if we can get them out on the field a little bit more, and see if that will help.'
Miami improved to a major league-best 16-5 at Marlins Park, and is 7-1 on its current homestand with one game left. The Marlins clinched the series and have won seven of their eight home series - they are 2-10 on the road.
'We're playing with a lot of confidence right now,' manager Mike Redmond said. 'Hopefully we can finish it off Wednesday and go on the road and start winning some games out of our suitcase. That's big right now in our development process.'
Alvarez (2-2) completed the victory by striking out Curtis Granderson on three pitches with a runner on third. He retired the side in order only three times but was helped by two double plays and a fine play by third baseman Casey McGehee, who threw out a batter from foul territory.
'He was moving the ball both sides of the plate,' said Daniel Murphy, who doubled twice. 'He threw the sinker. Once you thought you had that measured, in the last third of the game he started shoving us to the other side of the plate. He threw the ball well, he doesn't walk guys, and he got big double plays when he needed to. Tough at_bats.'
The Mets, who went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position, were shut out for the third time. They lost for the fifth time in the past six games.
'You've got to get the big hit, as they got,' Collins said. 'We didn't get any.'
Alvarez allowed a leadoff double in the fourth but retired the next three batters, including David Wright and Granderson on lineouts. Wright grounded out to end the sixth with runners at second and third.
'When Alvarez has his `A' stuff like tonight, and you have a good at-bat and hit a ball hard, it's pretty frustrating,' Wright said, 'because you know there's not going to be too many opportunities when he's throwing the ball like he is.'
The Marlins won with seven hits. NL home run leader Giancarlo Stanton missed one by inches when he hit an RBI double that caromed off the wall near the 418-foot sign in center field in the first inning. He scored on a single by McGehee.
The Marlins put together three consecutive two-out singles in the fifth, the last by McGehee to make it 3-0.
'These guys are red hot here,' Collins said. 'We're going to get hot, too.'
NOTES: The retractable roof was open on a 79-degree night. ... Marlins LF Christian Yelich visited a class of sixth-graders Tuesday and took questions. 'My favorite one was, `Do your parents still love you now that you're in the big leagues?'' Yelich said. ... Mets RHP Zack Wheeler (1-3, 5.13) is scheduled to pitch against RHP Tom Koehler (3-2, 2.41) in the series finale Wednesday afternoon.
The Associated Press News Service
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