Ageless Colon takes mound vs. Marlins

( - Bartolo Colon is defying the aging process and will try to win his fifth straight start when the New York Mets close out a three-game series against the Miami Marlins.

The 41-year-old Colon is 4-0 with a 2.77 earned run average and has never received a win in each of his first five starts to a season. Colon has only started 4-0 or better once in his career in 2007, when he was 5-0 after six outings for the Angels.

Colon is unbeaten in his past five starts dating back to the Mets' 2014 season finale on Sept. 28 and delivered six innings of three-run ball in last Thursday's 6-3 victory over Atlanta. The Mets have scored three runs or more in Colon's four trips to the hill.

The burly right-hander, who is just the fourth pitcher aged 40 or older in the past 80 years to win his first four starts of a season, recorded a personal eight-game winning streak from May 20-June 28, 2013. He is 2-0 on the road and 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA in six career starts against the Marlins.

Colon defeated Miami at Citi Field on April 17, hurling seven strong innings and allowing only a run in a 4-1 triumph. Colon has not walked a batter in each of his past three outings with five K's in each.

New York could have used Colon in Tuesday's 4-3 loss, but Rafael Montero was decent in his spot start. Montero allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and one walk.

The Mets recalled Montero from Triple-A Las Vegas to make a spot start in order to give the rotation an extra day of rest. He was perfect through the first three innings, then worked around a leadoff double by Dee Gordon in the fourth. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out David Phelps to strand two runners in the fifth.

"Very impressive. Very good location," Mets manager Terry Collins said about Montero. "Early in the game he had a little too many 3-2 counts, but he made the pitches when he had to make them. I thought he threw the ball very, very well tonight."

Miami grabbed a 3-0 lead in the sixth inning and the Mets countered with three runs in the seventh on a Juan Lagares bases-clearing double. Michael Morse's RBI single in the home eighth put the Marlins ahead for good.

Carlos Torres allowed Morse's clutch hit to absorb the loss. Daniel Murphy, who clubbed a big home run off of Steve Cishek Monday night, finished with three hits.

The Mets have fallen back to earth with alternating results over the last six games, but still lead the majors with a 15-6 record. They will return home this weekend for six straight games.

Miami got back on the winning track with Tuesday's close victory and Cishek recovered from the night before in the ninth inning, pitching around a hit and a walk to record his second save.

"Steve's a huge part of our team and our bullpen. To be able to get him in the game after last night was huge," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.

Phelps tossed six innings and gave up two runs in the no-decision.

The Marlins are slated to welcome the Philadelphia Phillies to town this weekend.

Mat Latos draws the start for Miami Wednesday in hopes of earning his first win of the season. He lost his first three outings and recorded a no-decision in last Friday's 3-2 victory over Washington, charged with two runs over 6 1/3 innings.

Latos, who has allowed two earned runs in each of his past three appearances, lost to the Mets on the road April 18, when he tossed five innings of two-run ball in a 5-4 decision. In nine career starts against the Mets, Latos is 2-4 with a 2.63 ERA.

The Marlins were swept in four games by the Mets from April 16-19 at Citi Field and have lost 13 of the previous 17 games in this series.