HOUSTON – Age is only a number and Bartolo Colon is evidence of that.
The 44-year-old pitcher carried a perfect game into the eighth and Robinson Chirinos drove in all three runs for the Texas Rangers during their 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros in 10 innings Sunday night.
“I don’t ever think about what age I am or who is facing me,” Colon said through a translator. “I always try to do my job and I always feel happy doing my job and that’s what I think about.”
Colon turned back the clock and dominated the defending World Series champions for seven innings, retiring his first 21 batters in an entertaining duel with Astros ace Justin Verlander.
Of the first 17 batters Colon faced, he went to an 0-2 count on 10 and struck out six in that span.
“He was doing everything he wanted to with that baseball,” Chirinos said. “So it was fun to be behind the plate and receive those pitches.”
Colon entered the eighth having thrown 83 pitches, 59 for strikes, with seven strikeouts.
“When I pitched seven innings perfect, I started thinking about it,” he said. “I know that (Jose) Altuve and all those guys can be a hard out.”
Colon walked Carlos Correa on a 3-1 pitch to start the eighth before Josh Reddick lined an 0-2 delivery down the right-field line for a double that put runners at second and third, spoiling the no-hit bid as well.
“He left a changeup up and I was looking over the plate and got enough of it to get it over the first baseman’s head,” Reddick said.
Opposing fans in Houston gave Colon a standing ovation, and he clapped his bare hand softly against the outside of his glove.
A fan favorite all around the majors, the beefy 129-kg right-hander nicknamed “Big Sexy” is on his ninth team in his last 11 seasons.
“It was probably top three games I’ve ever been involved in,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “I was getting excited. You find yourself pulling for it, a lot of different things run through your mind in those types of situations. It was his game.”
Red Sox 3, Orioles 1
In Boston, Andrew Benintendi got three hits and the Red Sox extended the best start in their 118-year history by beating Baltimore at frigid Fenway Park.
Mitch Moreland also had three hits for Boston, which completed a three-game sweep of the shortened series and improved to a major league-best 13-2 under new manager Alex Cora.
The series was supposed to last four games, but the traditional Patriots’ Day game scheduled for Monday morning at 11:05 a.m. was postponed late Sunday afternoon because of a forecast that calls for heavy rain throughout the day.
Phillies 10, Rays 4
In St. Petersburg, Florida, Aaron Altherr hit a three-run homer, Scott Kingery had a three-run double and Philadelphia won its sixth in a row.
Kingery’s two-out drive off the center field wall capped a four-run burst in the third inning that put the Phillies ahead 4-2. The rookie has 12 RBIs over his past eight games.
Athletics 2, Mariners 1
In Seattle, Sean Manaea pitched seven strong innings and Jed Lowrie hit an early two-run homer off Felix Hernandez.
Oakland avoided a series sweep as Manaea (2-2) gave up just two hits and struck out four. It was the third time in four starts this season he has lasted at least seven innings.
Mets 3, Brewers 2
In New York, Wilmer Flores hit a game-winning home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Mets beat Milwaukee to improve the best start in team history to 12-2.
Noah Syndergaard struck out eight batters in a row, two shy of Tom Seaver’s major league record, and Brandon Nimmo finished a double shy of the cycle. Nimmo connected for a tying home run against Taylor Williams leading off the sixth on a cold, blustery afternoon at Citi Field.
Rockies 6, Nationals 5
In Washington, Ian Desmond hit a tiebreaking, two-out homer in the ninth inning against his former team, Charlie Blackmon drove in three runs and Colorado rallied to beat the Nationals.
After Sean Doolittle (0-1) struck out Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra to open the ninth, Desmond sent a belt-high, 3-2 fastball over the wall in straightaway center as Colorado took three out of four in its only visit to Washington.
Pirates 7, Marlins 3
In Miami, Starling Marte went 5-for-5 with a ninth-inning homer to help Pittsburgh beat the Marlins.
Marte’s five hits were a career high, and his average rose from .241 to .305. He scored four times and hit his third homer off Junichi Tazawa, who pitched one inning.
Cardinals 3, Reds 2
In Cincinnati, Carlos Martinez struck out a season-high 11 batters in seven shutout innings and Harrison Bader’s two-run home run helped St. Louis complete its first four-game sweep in Cincinnati since 1949.
Martinez (2-1) allowed two hits and four walks while helping send the Reds to their eighth consecutive loss, one short of matching their longest losing streak of last season.
Dodgers 7, Diamondbacks 2
In Los Angeles, Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 and pitched two-hit ball over seven innings and the Dodgers ended an 11-game losing streak against Arizona in the regular season.
Los Angeles had been 0-5 versus the Diamondbacks this year, and hadn’t beaten them in the regular season since last August. But the Dodgers swept Arizona 3-0 last year in the NL Division Series.
Padres 10, Giants 1
In San Diego, Joey Lucchesi struck out nine in six innings, fellow rookie Christian Villanueva homered, doubled and drove in three runs, and the Padres cruised past San Francisco 10-1.
Jose Pirela was a home run short of the cycle and had three RBIs for the Padres, who have won five of seven. The Giants have lost four of five.
Blue Jays at Indians — ppd.
Yankees at Tigers (1st) — ppd.
Yankees at Tigers (2nd) — ppd.
White Sox at Twins — ppd.
Angels at Royals — ppd.
Braves at Cubs — ppd.