- Associated Press - Sunday, July 3, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Bartolo Colon started Ben Zobrist with an 87 mph pitch off the outside of the plate.

Facing the NL Cy Young Award winner in Jake Arrieta, the crafty 43-year-old with the sumo wrestler body and carefree attitude wasn’t going to get amped up.

Colon (7-4) outpitched Arrieta on a night of playoff-like intensity at Citi Field, and the New York Mets beat Chicago 4-3 Saturday for their third straight win over the Cubs.

After getting swept in a three-game series at Washington, the Mets can complete a sweep of their own on Sunday.

“We hit a little lull, and sometimes when you do that you kind of just show up and put your uniform on and go play, and that’s not how you win in this league,” Neil Walker said. “These last few days have been a very good indicator of what we’re capable of and how we need to play the rest of the summer.”

Walker hit a two-run homer in the first and Travis d’Arnaud blooped a two-run single in the fourth, after Anthony Rizzo tied the score with a two-run homer in the top half. Zobrist homered off Erik Goeddel in the seventh.

Addison Reed struck out Kris Bryant to end the seventh with the potential tying run on second, and then struck out the side in the eighth after Rizzo’s leadoff single. Jeurys Familia got three straight outs to convert his 44th consecutive save chance, including a major league-leading 28 this season, sending the Cubs to their ninth loss in 13 games.

“You can believe you can compete, but then when you go out and do it, it means a lot, the confidence that it sends throughout the clubhouse,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “There’s no other way to do it except go out there and beat one of the real, real good teams three times. And we’ve done that and we want to finish it off.”

Arrieta (12-3) lost for the third time in six starts, giving up four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. He had been 19-0 in 24 regular-season road starts since losing at St. Louis on May 7, 2015, the only pitcher since 1913 to win 19 consecutive road decisions. However, he lost Game 2 of last year’s NL Championship Series at Citi Field.

Arrieta started his first eight batters with balls. Rookie Brandon Nimmo walked leading off, and Walker sent a 94 mph sinker off the facing of the second deck in right. The home run was his 15th this year, one shy of his 2015 total.

With the score 2-2 in the fourth and runners at first and second, d’Arnaud popped a ball into short center field, in the middle of a triangle formed by center fielder Jason Heyward, second baseman Javier Baez and shortstop Addison Russell. On a full run toward the outfield and with his back to home plate, Baez reached up with his right, bare hand, but the ball glanced off it and fell to the ground as two runs scored. Baez had just entered the game at second base.

Colon (7-4) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. D’Arnaud said Colon kept the mood light.

“Even today, he’s getting us to laugh before his big start,” he said.

Before the game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon recalled writing Pancho on the lineup card when he was with the Angels instead of Colon’s name, a reference to Colon’s pet donkey when he was young in the Dominican Republic. Maddon said the way to beat the Colon was to take advantage of his few mistakes.

There was just one, Rizzo’s homer into the center field batter’s eye.

“The key is just throw strikes,” Colon said through a translator. “A team like the Cubs, who are aggressive at home plate, you have to try to get ahead of the batters.”

WEB GEM

Mets first baseman James Loney made a nifty throw for a reverse force double play in the third inning. After fielding Zobrist’s bouncer over first, Loney leaned back in foul territory and threw to second, where shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera acted as if there was no play, appearing to fool Arrieta, who went into the base standing up and was tagged out.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: OF Juan Lagares was activated from the 15-day DL after recovering from a sprained left thumb, entered as a pinch hitter in the sixth in his first big league appearance since June 14 and is set to start Sunday. … RF Curtis Granderson, who has not played since Wednesday because of a right calf strain, was on deck to pinch hit in the eighth and could play Sunday.

UP NEXT

LHP Jon Lester (9-3) is to start Sunday for the Cubs and RHP Noah Syndergaard (8-3) for the Mets.

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