With victory over D-backs, veteran becomes 18th pitcher to accomplish feat
By Shane Jackson
MINNEAPOLIS -- Arizona left fielder Gregor Blanco hovered over home plate, almost as if he were frozen in place by an 85.5 mph fastball from Bartolo Colon to end the sixth inning. Colon walked off the mound, while Blanco could merely watch following the strikeout.
The K closed the book on Colon's day, during which he helped push the Twins past the D-backs, 12-5, on Sunday at Target Field. It notched the team's first three-game sweep over a National League opponent since June 2011 vs. San Diego.
Additionally, it rewarded Colon with his first career victory over Arizona. The 20-year veteran has now defeated all 30 clubs in the Majors, becoming the 18th pitcher to accomplish the feat and third active pitcher to do so along with John Lackey and Max Scherzer.
"It means a lot to me for my career," Colon said through Twins interpreter Carlos Font. "I haven't won in two stadiums, so that's my next goal."
The remaining stadiums on Colon's list are Arizona's Chase Field and Chicago's Wrigley Field.
"I was actually surprised there was 18," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "It's still an elite group. It speaks to longevity and a little bit of uniform-changing. Every time he goes out there, I think our guys can't wait to watch him pitch and try to back him up the best we can."
Colon allowed seven hits across six frames, while allowing a total of four runs. A trio of Arizona batters -- J.D. Martinez, Brandon Drury, and Jake Lamb -- went deep off Colon. However, much like his last outing, Colon was able to limit the homers to solo shots.
The oldest active player in the Majors whiffed a total of six batters and walked just two. Colon last struck out that many batters on May 20 vs. Washington, when he was a member of the Braves.
"To be able to beat all 30 teams in baseball, you have to be around quite awhile. You also have to be pretty darn good," catcher Chris Gimenez said. "I was told before the game it was on me, because he needed one more to get 30 of them. I have to admit, when we scored the nine runs in the first inning, I thought, 'We can't blow this right now.'"
The nine-run outburst by the Minnesota offense in the opening frame was certainly a gift for Colon, though it had very little impact on his gameplan with Gimenez. Colon, as always, threw primarily fastballs and located the corners of the strike zone with his two-seamer.
Colon also did his part to extend the team's winning streak to four games. Minnesota has now won 11 of its past 14 dating back to Aug. 6, which has allowed the team to remain well within the chase for the second spot in the American League Wild Card.
The Twins are now in a favorable position to continue that as well, with eight of their next 11 matchups against the last-place White Sox.
"Any win you get at this point in time is huge, especially in our situation," Gimenez said. "Those types of teams can be extremely dangerous. We need to stay on top of that and understand that we can go in there and take a couple away from a division rival."
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.