LOS ANGELES — The Mets have made a habit of upending the natural order of things, of taking the stuff of fantasy and turning it into unfathomable reality.
In just one turn through the rotation, Bartolo Colon hit the home run that launched a thousand Internet memes, and Noah Syndergaard lived up to his “Thor” persona by bashing a pair of his own. Pitchers doubling as sluggers? Just another day for these convention-defying Mets.
But good times never last. The world snaps back into place. There would be no unexpected home runs, no joyous romps around the bases.
In the end, predictability and order are the rule.
Once again, Clayton Kershaw made sure of this.
The Dodgers’ ace tossed a three-hit shutout last night to throttle the Mets 5-0, ensuring that this four-game series would end a split.
Colon brought a lifetime 5.16 ERA against the Dodgers, one of the teams that have had his number through the years. And he was true to form, proving no match for Kershaw, who tossed his second shutout in his last three starts.
Colon did not hit a homer, though he did allow a pair: a three-run run shot to Yasmani Grandal in the first inning and a solo shot to longtime Mets nemesis Chase Utley.
Despite chatter of retribution for Utley’s takeout slide of Ruben Tejada in last year’s NLDS, it was Utley who dished out some punishment. He finished the night 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.
And, predictably, with Kershaw at the top of his game, the Mets (21-13) had little chance. The lefty’s mantle features three Cy Young Awards and a Most Valuable Player, and during a nine-inning exhibition, he showcased just how he had accumulated that hardware.
As the Dodgers (18-17) have muddled through their fist weeks under new manager Dave Roberts, Kershaw has taken his customary spot as the rock of the staff, seemingly asked to drag his comrades along every fifth day. He has proven up to the task.
Needing a victory to salvage a split, Kershaw did not allow his first hit until the fourth inning, when Asdrubal Cabrera led off the frame with a single. Before that, the Mets’ only baserunner came in the first inning when David Wright worked a two-out walk.
In the sixth, Curtis Granderson lined the Mets’ second hit off Kershaw, a double down the rightfield line. He would advance no farther when Wright struck out looking.
The Mets, left off balance and lurching at the plate, had no answers for a version of Kershaw that drew upon every pitch in his arsenal with equal ease.
Kershaw finished with 13 strikeouts. It was the fifth straight game in which he finished in double-digits, equaling a club record. He surpassed Hideo Nomo and another dominant lefthander in blue: Sandy Koufax.
Meanwhile, just three batters into Colon’s outing, and his much-anticipated first plate appearance of the night was suddenly no sure thing. Colon relies on guile and movement, which he quickly found lacking. His fastballs were flat and the Dodgers pounced.
Colon surrendered three straight singles, the last a run-scoring hit by Dodgers wunderkind Corey Seager.
Grandal struck the biggest blow, though, blasting a three-run shot to cap a four-run first. Utley added a solo homer later, and it wouldn’t be long until Colon was through.