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Cashner coughs up rare lead, Padres lose to Mets

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NEW YORK (AP) — Andrew Cashner gets handed a lead so rarely, it was almost as though he didn’t know how to hold it.

Bobby Abreu went 4 for 4 with two RBIs and Bartolo Colon pitched four-hit ball into the eighth inning as the New York Mets turned to a pair of 40-somethings to beat Cashner and the San Diego Padres 6-2 on Friday night.

“Couldn’t stop the two-out hits,” Cashner said.

Abreu scored twice in the rain-delayed opener of a three-game series between fourth-place teams struggling to score. Colon (6-5) set down 18 straight batters and improved to 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in his last five starts, sending the Mets to only their second victory in 10 games.

Rene Rivera hit a two-run homer, but Cashner (2-6) failed to preserve a 2-0 edge for the Padres, who have dropped five straight and nine of 11.

“I felt good,” Cashner said. “I thought I came out executing early, kind of lost my command from the second through the fifth.”

The hard-throwing Cashner, who came in with a 2.13 ERA, has lost five straight decisions. He gave up four runs and eight hits over six innings in his second start since spending more than three weeks on the disabled list with a sore right elbow.

“Cashner’s stuff was good. It wasn’t quite as crisp as his last outing,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “His last outing, commanded the fastball much better than he did tonight. He got some balls up out over the plate a little bit too often. They took advantage of some.”

The 41-year-old Colon had uncharacteristic trouble with his control at the start, following a rain delay that lasted 1 hour, 56 minutes. He walked his first batter and gave up Yonder Alonso’s leadoff single in the second before Rivera connected for his fourth home run.

“I got a little mad. I was meaning to throw that pitch outside and I just went in a little too much, so that really got me fired up,” Colon said through a translator.

The home run gave Cashner an uncommon 2-0 lead – the Padres had scored only once in his previous 33 innings. He entered 4-8 in his past 17 outings dating to last season despite a sparkling 1.72 ERA.

Colon, however, quickly recovered and retired his next 18 batters until Alexi Amarista opened the eighth with a double.

“I’ve known Bart for a long time and at times, you’ll see him get stronger as the game goes on. I think you saw that tonight,” Black said. “He held his velocity throughout the game, even into the eighth inning.”

After throwing a called third strike past pinch-hitter Tommy Medica with his 118th pitch, Colon was lifted. He walked off the mound to a warm ovation and softly clapped his hands.

Vic Black retired cleanup man Carlos Quentin with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Batting fourth in place of Curtis Granderson (calf), the 40-year-old Abreu hit a leadoff double in the second and scored on Taylor Teagarden’s two-out single.

Abreu singled in the fourth and Lucas Duda tied it 2-all on a two-out double just beyond the reach of diving center fielder Will Venable. Matt den Dekker blooped a ground-rule double that put New York ahead.

Abreu added RBI singles in the fifth and seventh. Slumping star David Wright had a long sacrifice fly in the seventh.

It was the first four-hit game for Abreu, who did not play in the majors last season, since May 30, 2011, with the Angels at Kansas City.

“I made two good pitches to him,” Cashner said. “He’s a good hitter, a professional hitter. Couldn’t get him out.”

NOTES: The Padres were awaiting MRI results on LHP Robbie Erlin, on the DL with a sore elbow. … San Diego RHP Jesse Hahn will be recalled from Double-A San Antonio to make his second major league start Saturday. Hahn was a high school teammate of injured Mets ace Matt Harvey in Groton, Connecticut, about a 2-hour drive from Citi Field, and expects to have family and friends in the stands. … The Padres signed first-round draft pick Trea Turner, a shortstop selected No. 13 overall out of North Carolina State. San Diego also inked OF Michael Gettys (second round) and RHP Zech Lemond (third round). The team has signed 22 of its 40 draft picks.