ANAHEIM -- The Mets arrived in Southern California a cheerful bunch, fresh off a series win over the Braves and eager to further their momentum. A few miles down the road from the Happiest Place on Earth, the Mets looked and acted the part.
Sixty hours later they left exhausted, beaten, even a little angry. The Angels had spent Sunday blasting their staff veteran, Bartolo Colon, for nine runs in a 14-2 loss, undoing much of the good work the Mets accomplished earlier in the week. If Anaheim is home to the earth's happiest place, the Mets were happy simply to leave.
"This was just a flat-out beating," said third baseman David Wright, one of two Mets players ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the game.
At least the Angels did their beating efficiently. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off Colon in the first, and Kole Calhoun came a foot or two shy of making it four in a row. Calhoun settled for a double, scoring anyway on an Ian Stewart hit later in the inning.
"At that moment, you're not thinking, 'Why is this happening?'" Colon said through an interpreter. "It's just part of the game."
From there, the rout was on.
The Angels made it 7-1 on Erick Aybar's two-run triple and J.B. Shuck's run-scoring single in the fourth. They made it 9-2 on Hank Conger's two-run blast -- and none of these homers were cheap ones -- in the fifth. They made it 11-2 when Scott Rice gave up runs on a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch in the sixth. They made it 14-2 on another wild pitch and Ian Stewart's two-run homer -- Anaheim's fifth of the afternoon -- off John Lannan in the eighth.
By that point, Wright and Daniel Murphy were angry enough about home-plate umpire Toby Basner's strike zone that they had earned simultaneous ejections in the seventh for chirping from the dugout and the rest of the team's frustration was apparent. When asked about Trout, who went 7-for-15 with two home runs in the three-game series, Collins said simply: "Yeah. He's good."
The Angels were all good in this one, coming up two shy of their franchise record for extra-base hits. This marked the first time since 2003 that Colon had allowed nine earned runs in a game, and it came directly after his best outing of the season -- a seven-inning blanking of the Braves on Tuesday.
"That was big," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Bartolo's tough if you let him get going. The mistakes he made early, we didn't miss. We hit them hard."
Despite all that, the Mets actually held a lead for the 11th time in 12 games this season, when Wright touched C.J. Wilson for an RBI single in the first. That turned out to be their high point of the day.
"We knew we were facing one of the better left-handers in the game, so we knew that runs were probably going to be at a minimum," said Wright, who deflected questions about his ejection. "To get one early felt pretty good. And then it just wasn't Bart's day today. From what I've seen from him, those days are few and far between."
Colon has started three games now for the Mets. One has been excellent, one has been adequate and one has been poor. If it's consistency the Mets are hunting, they have not yet found it in their 40-year-old starter. But they remain as confident as ever in his track record.
It had, after all, been 11 years since any team had so thoroughly pummeled Colon in an outing. It had been four years since any Mets pitcher had given up nine runs in a game.
The Mets did not invest $20 million in Colon this winter expecting anything like this. So they are confident they won't see anything like it again.
"We've bounced back a couple times," Wright said. "We've kind of given away a couple games that we should be winning. It's tough to take positives out of that, but at the end of the day, we're putting ourselves in position to win some games, and we need to take advantage of that."