- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Hours after his personal life turned into a tabloid headline, Bartolo Colon lost control of his pitches.

Daniel Murphy drove in two runs against his former team to back Gio Gonzalez in his latest win at Citi Field, sending the patient Washington Nationals past Colon and the New York Mets 7-1 on Wednesday night.

Washington took advantage of uncharacteristic wildness by Colon and the Mets relievers who followed him, drawing 11 walks and getting hit by pitches twice in a game that dragged on for 3 hours, 42 minutes.

“I haven’t seen that out of our pitching staff since I’ve been here. Nobody could find the strike zone,” manager Terry Collins said. “That’s just not us.”

The shaky outing came on the same day the New York Post reported Colon is being sued by a woman who alleges the pitcher hasn’t paid child support for two children he fathered with her outside his marriage.

Colon insisted the story was not a distraction.

“When I’m here doing my job, nothing else affects me,” he said through a translator.

“I have nothing to add to that. I don’t care to talk about my personal stuff.”

The Mets, who threw 217 pitches, entered with the fewest walks in the majors. They had not issued 11 free passes in a nine-inning game since July 13, 2012, against Atlanta.

Yoenis Cespedes hit his 13th home run for the Mets, who have lost five of six.

The rubber game of the series, the first this season between the division rivals, is Thursday night - with unbeaten Washington ace Stephen Strasburg facing struggling Matt Harvey.

Pitching six days before his 43rd birthday, Colon (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings and walked five for the first time since April 26, 2005, with the Angels at Yankee Stadium.

“It just felt like I was on the mound, just walking around, it felt a little bit different. I couldn’t just get that comfortable grip,” Colon said.

He walked consecutive batters twice (Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper in the first and again in the third). Colon had not walked back-to-back hitters even once since July 18, 2007, with the Angels at Tampa Bay.

“What was shocking, did it two times in a row. That’s what baffled me,” Collins said.

Gonzalez (3-1) carried a two-hitter into the seventh before three singles loaded the bases with one out. Felipe Rivero relieved and escaped the jam unscathed, retiring Kevin Plawecki and pinch-hitter Michael Conforto to protect a four-run lead.

Gonzalez improved to 10-4 with a 2.59 ERA against the Mets, and 7-1 with a 1.52 ERA in 12 starts at Citi Field. He is 4-0 with a 0.97 ERA in his last six starts against New York.

“I really don’t have an answer for what’s going on here,” he said.

Anthony Rendon snapped a fifth-inning tie with a two-run single for the Nationals, who stopped a three-game skid and held onto first place in the NL East.

Werth doubled, singled and scored three runs on a perfect night at the plate. He also walked three times and stole his first base of the season.

Behind him, Harper drew four walks and scored once. It was quite a contrast to Tuesday night, when Noah Syndergaard went right after Harper (0 for 4) and held the NL MVP without a walk for the first time in 11 games.

WALK THIS WAY

The 11 walks matched a Nationals record for a nine-inning game. … Colon had gone a career-best 13 consecutive starts without walking multiple batters, dating to Aug. 31, 2015. It had been the longest active streak in the majors.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets 3B David Wright returned to the lineup after getting scratched Tuesday when his balky back flared up during batting practice. He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. “The back thing is just something that I’m going to have to get used to, because it’s not changing. But I feel I can play at a much higher level than I’m playing right now,” Wright said. … 1B Lucas Duda (stiff back) sat out again but was feeling a lot better, Collins said, adding he wants to start Duda in the series finale Thursday night. … LHP Steven Matz (elbow) threw his side session as expected, the Mets said, and is scheduled to start Friday night against Milwaukee. Matz missed a turn Saturday in Colorado.

UP NEXT

Strasburg (6-0, 2.95 ERA) and Harvey (3-5, 4.93) square off for the third time in the majors. Harvey has beaten Strasburg in both previous matchups and will attempt to extend his dominance against Harper - the slugger is 0 for 20 with seven strikeouts and three walks vs. Harvey. Washington has won the past 12 games started by Strasburg, who recently agreed to a $175 million, seven-year contract that begins next season.


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