YANKEES 6, METS 4
When Yankees manager Joe Girardi takes out his starting pitcher holding a lead and brings in a reliever the opposing manager should just make plans for the next game because the one in which his team is playing is pretty much over.
And so it was on Sunday night for manager Terry Collins and the Mets.
Alex Rodriguez hit the 659th home run of his career and he added an RBI double, the Mets threw the ball around Yankee Stadium as if it was a hand grenade for four errors and the Yankees vaunted high-octane bullpen did the rest as the Yankees won the home portion of the Subway Series two games to one.
Left-hander Chasen Shreve (1-0), who came on in the fifth inning for right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, got credit for the victory and left-hander Andrew Miller pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his seventh save in seven chances.
All told, the bullpen crew of Shreve, Chris Martin, Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Miller shut out the Mets on no hits and one walk while they fanned four batters over the final 4 2/3 innings.
The Mets took an early lead on Eovaldi when Curtis Granderson hit Eovaldi’s ninth pitch for his first home run of the season to start the game. The Mets later added a run on a Juan Lagares single and a two-out double by Daniel Murphy.
Rodriguez halved the lead in the bottom of the first by lacing a 2-2 curveball onto the top of the wall in right-center and it bounced into the Yankees’ bullpen for Rodriguez’s fifth home run of the season and his first since April 19.
The Yankees then went double happy on left-hander Jonathan Niese (2-1) to take a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game.
John Ryan Murphy doubled to left with one out and with two out the Yankees then strung together four straight RBI hits, two of them doubles.
Gregorio Petit doubled to left to score Murphy, Brett Gardner doubled to right to score Petit and Chris Young singled to right to plate Gardner.
Rodriguez then singled through the left side of the infield. But left-fielder Michael Cuddyer threw a lawn-dart that allowed Young to score and Rodriguez to take second. It took first baseman Lucas Duda’s retrieval of the slow rolling ball at shortstop to throw out Rodriguez at third with the second baseman, Murphy, covering to end the four-run inning.
The Mets added a pair of runs with two out in the third inning as Duda singled, Cuddyer doubled him in and he moved to third on a throwing error by Stephen Drew. Murphy then drove in Cuddyer with a single.
But when Girardi took out Eovaldi with one out and a runner on in the fifth, the Mets’ offense went perceptibly south immediately.
The Yankees got to Niese again in the fifth as Gardner reached on an disputed infield single. First-base umpire Adam Hamari had ruled that shortstop Wilmer Flores’ throw had beaten Gardner but it was challenged and overturned by replay.
Young then reached on a hard-hit ball that Murphy played into an error that allowed Gardner to advance to third. Rodriguez then hit what looked to be routine double-play grounder but Flores stepped on second to retire Young and then fired the relay to first base into the stands for the team’s fourth error of the night, which allowed Gardner to score.
Niese, who entered the game on a streak of six games of yielding two earned runs or less, was charged with six runs (four earned) on eight hits and one walk with three strikeouts in five innings.
Eovaldi struggled in his fourth start, surrendering four runs on seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
With the victory the Yankees improved to 11-8 and they are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays in first place in the American League East. The Mets fell to 14-5, which remains the best record in baseball.
- Rodriguez shook off a slump that had lasted more than a week to homer, double, drive in two runs and score one run. He hit the ball well in each of his four at-bats and he is now batting .267 with five homers and 13 RBIs.
- Of the five relievers Girardi used, Betances was absolutely dominant in his one inning of work in the eighth. He struck out Lagares, Duda and Cuddyer in succession but his nasty curve broke so much it got past Murphy for a wild pitch so Cuddyer reached on a wild pitch. At that point, Betances had faced eight Mets batters in his career and he had struck out all eight of them. However, Daniel Murphy was able to ground out to second to break the string.
- Very quietly John Ryan Murphy is developing into an excellent young catcher at age 23. Murphy, filling in for starter Brian McCann, was 2-for-3 with a double and he scored a run. With limited plate appearances, Murphy is batting .313 this season.
- After going eight games without making an error earlier in the week the Yankees committed two on Sunday and they were charged with four errors in the three-game series. Drew was charged with a throwing error in the third and Chase Headley also made an errant throw in the fifth. The Yankees need to clean up this sloppy play soon. They were lucky that the Mets were even worse.
- Beltran is drawing a cascade of boos every time he makes an out. On Sunday, Beltran was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and he also hit into a double play. The 38-year-old outfielder is now batting .161 with no homers and seven RBIs. After being benched on Saturday it looks as if Girardi’s patience with him is quickly running out.
Jacoby Ellsbury sat out Sunday’s game against the Mets with tightness in his right hip. The 31-year-old outfielder received treatment for the injury and Girardi told reporters that he hoped to have him back in the lineup on Monday. Ellsbury is batting .282 with a homers and two RBIs in 17 games. . . . The Yankees will recall right-hander Chase Whitley from Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre and he will start on Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays to allow right-hander Masahiro Tanaka to have an extra day of rest between starts. Whitley, 25, is 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts for the RailRiders.
The Yankees will begin a three-game home series against the Rays on Monday.
Right-hander Adam Warren (1-1, 5.40 ERA) will open the series for the Yankees. Warren gave up four runs on five hits and four walks with three strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings against the Detroit Tigers to get his first victory on Wednesday.
Right-hander Nathan Karns (1-1, 5.32 ERA) will pitch for the Rays. Karns was pounded for five runs on seven hits and four walks with three strikeouts in six innings in a no-decison against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.
YANKEES 5, METS 1
The Yankees rolled into Citi Field on Friday on the heels of a season-high five game winning streak. Their crosstown rival host, the Mets, were feeling pretty cocky after having won six of their last eight games. Someone had to give.
Fortunately for the Yankees, it was Jonathon Niese and the Mets.
The Yankees jumped on Niese for three runs in the first inning on a two-run double by Mark Teixeira and an RBI double by Robinson Cano while Ivan Nova and Yankees’ bullpen made the early lead stand up the rest of the way as the Yankees defeated the Mets for the third time in four games in the Subway Series.
Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson opened the first on Niese with singles and Teixeira followed with an opposite-field double to right to score both runners. One out later, Cano lashed an opposite field double to left to score Teixeira and Nova had a 3-0 lead before he even threw a pitch.
Nova (8-4) was touched for three straight singles with one out in the second inning, culminating with an RBI single by Ruben Tejada to score Jason Bay. But Nova escaped further trouble and finished by giving up just the one run on seven hits and two walks and he struck out three batters.
The Yankees pulled Nova after five innings because they had Nova due up with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning. Manager Joe Girardi chose to use Jorge Posada to pinch-hit and rely on his bullpen the rest of the way. Posada struck out and Swisher grounded out to end the threat.
Niese (7-7) gave up three runs on nine hits and two walks and he fanned seven batters over six innings.
The Yankees tacked on an unearned run in the eighth inning after Daniel Murphy dropped a throw to first on a Russell Martin grounder to shortstop Jose Reyes. Pinch-hitter Brett Gardner bunted Martin to second and Eduardo Nunez, who recorded his first major-league four-hit game, singled in Martin off reliever Bobby Parnell.
The Yankees also added a run in the ninth after a leadoff walk to Curtis Granderson by reliever D.J. Carrasco. One-out later, Alex Rodriguez hit a 450-foot double off the wall in left-center to score Granderson.
Two innings earlier, Rodriguez was involved in a defensive play that may have changed the course of the game.
Reyes opened the seventh by singling off reliever Cory Wade. Justin Turner then lofted a fly to deep center-field and Reyes chose to tag up and advance to second. When Granderson’s throw short-hopped Nunez in shallow center, Reyes decided to head for third. Nunez picked up the ball and fired to Rodriguez at third. As Reyes slid, Rodriguez brushed him on the left sleeve with the tag and home-plate umpire Jerry Layne called Reyes out.
Reyes and third-base coach Chip Hale immediately protested that Rodriguez had missed the tag. Mets manager Terry Collins came out to argue the call and Layne ejected him from the game.
The Yankees’ bullpen consisting of Luis Ayala, Wade, Boone Logan, David Robertson, Hector Noesi and Mariano Rivera combined to give up three hits and a walk and fanned three over the final four innings to preserve the Yankees’ 16th victory in their last 20 games.
With the victory the Yankees improved their season record to 49-31 and they maintained their 2 1/2-game lead in the American League East on the second-place Boston Red Sox, who had to rally late to beat the Astros, the team with the worst record in the National League. The Mets, meanwhile, fell back to an even 41-41 on the season.
- With his two RBIs in Friday’s game, Teixeira now has 10 RBIs over his last six games and his 65 RBIs are second in the American League and fourth in the majors. He also drew two walks and scored a run in the game. Though Tex hit nine home runs and drove in 25 runs in June, he ended up with a .213 batting average for the month. He is hitting .244 on the season.
- Cano was 2-for-4 with a double, a single and an RBI. He now has five-game hitting streak in which he is 6-for-19 (.316) with four RBIs. Cano has raised his average to .292.
- Nunez is aware that Derek Jeter will be returning to the starting lineup on Monday in Cleveland. But he is not letting it bother him. He had an infield bunt single in the second, an opposite-field double in the fourth, a blop single to shallow left-center in which Cano should have scored on from third and an RBI single in the eighth. Nunez’s 4-for-4 night raised his batting average to .261. In his 16 starts at shortstop in place of Jeter, Nunez is 17-for-55 (.309) with one home run and six RBIs. Of course, he made his share of errors, too. But he has filled in nicely for “The Captain” and shows he has a future as a starter someday.
- Nova was tough when he needed to be on Friday. In the first inning, he gave up two hits but induced Daniel Murphy to hit into a inning-ending double play. After Tejeda stroked the Mets’ third straight hit off him in the second inning, he struck out Niese looking and got Reyes to ground out. In the fifth, the Mets loaded the bases after two were out but Nova fanned Angel Pagan swinging on a curve in the dirt.
- The Yankees kept the Mets in the game needlessly by failing to get big hits when Niese was on the ropes. In the first, Martin and Andruw Jones failed to get a ball out of the infield with Cano at second. Swisher and Granderson left Nunez on second in the second inning when they both struck out looking. Cano hit into a double play with two on and nobody out in the third. Posada struck out with one out and the bases loaded and Swisher ended in the threat by grounding out in the sixth. The Yankees left seven runners on base in the first six innings.
- Not to belabor the point about not getting key hits in key situations but the Yankees ended the game 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position. That is a .211 average and was the only reason the game was not a blowout.
- Andruw Jones was inserted into the lineup in left-field to replace the left-hand-hitting Gardner against Niese. Jones was 0-for-3 against Niese including a strikeout looking and he did not get a ball out of the infield. Jones is hitting an abysmal .213 on the season. If the Yankees get a chance to make a deal for a right-hand power-hitting outfielder by the July 31 trade deadline, I suggest they make it and release the useless Jones.
Jeter left Florida on Friday to join the Double-A Trenton Thunder for a pair of rehab games on Saturday and Sunday. If there are no setbacks, the Yankees will activate Jeter on Monday in Cleveland, where the Yankees will face the Indians. Jeter has been sidelined since June 14 with a mild right calf strain. Jeter is six hits shy of the 3,000 mark for his career. . . . The Yankees said it is unlikely Eric Chavez will be activated on July 5 when he is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list. Chavez is on the disabled list with a right foot injury but he is being bothered by a strained back.
The Yankees continue the road portion of their Subway Series with the Mets on Saturday.
The Yankees will activate and start 38-year-old right-hander Bartolo Colon (5-3, 3.10 ERA). Colon has been on the disabled list since June 11 with a left hamstring strain. Colon had won his last three starts prior to the injury. He is 3-1 with a 3.46 ERA against the Mets over the past 10 years.
The Mets will counter with 25-year-old right-hander Dillon Gee (8-1, 3.32 ERA). Gee is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA over his last three starts. He has never faced the Yankees before.
Game-time will be 4:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports.
YANKEES 9, METS 3
I have said it. Yankees manager Joe Girardi has said it. The broadcasters on TBS hit us over the head with it for 6 1/2 innings. But finally the Yankees erupted with hits with runners in scoring position. Eight runs later and the game was a rout.
The Yankees interrupted the Mets’ 3-1 victory and the taking the road version of the Subway Series with eight runs in the seventh inning, keyed by a game-tying two-run single by Derek Jeter and a base-loaded RBI dribbler to third by Alex Rodriguez that put the Yankees ahead for good.
The inning took 26 minutes, four Mets pitchers, 35 pitches, 14 batters, six hits, a sacrifice bunt, a hit batter, a walk and one Met error. After Rodriguez’s hit, Robsinson Cano followed with an RBI single of his own and Brett Gardner and Chris Dickerson made it a rout with back-to-back bloop hits that fell into left that drove in two runs apiece.
Luis Ayala (1-0), who relieved starter Ivan Nova and retired the only batter he faced in the top of the seventh and added a perfect eighth, was credited with the victory. Mets starter Mike Pelfrey (3-4) was saddled with the loss. He gave up five runs on eight hits and two walks and struck out four in six-plus innings.
Leading the game 3-1, Pelfrey started the seventh by giving up a solid single to Gardner up the middle. He then walked Dickerson and nailed Francisco Cervelli in the left shoulder with a pitch Cervelli was attempting to bunt. Jeter then followed with his two-run single that tied the game and Pelfrey was removed from the game by manager Terry Collins. With left-hander Tim Byrdak on the mound, Curtis Granderson bunted to move Cervelli and Jeter up a base. Byrdak then walked Mark Teixeira intentionally to load the bases for Rodriguez.
Collins summoned right-hander Pedro Beato and Rodriguez tapped a dribbler slowly to third baseman Willie Harris, who had no play, allowing Cervelli to break the 3-3 tie. Cano followed with his his RBI single and the Yankees added four more runs to leave no doubt who the better team was this weekend.
With the victory, the Yankees improved the season ledger to 25-20 and they remain in a virtual tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East. The Mets dropped to 22-24.
- Rodriguez collected four hits in the game. All of them were singles and two were infield hits, but the 4-for-5 game raised A-Rod’s average to .284, which is currently the highest the average among all the Yankee regulars. He was 7-for-13 in the weekend series. If his surgically repaired hip is bothering him in any way it has not affecting his hitting at all.
- Jeter also did well in the Subway Series, as he has done in the past. He was 5-for-12 with three runs scored and two RBIs over the weekend. He raised his batting average to .268 and the two hits bring him to within 25 hits of 3,000 for his career.
- Chris Dickerson was inserted into the starting lineup to replace a struggling Nick Swisher and ended up 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and two RBIs. In limited play, Dickerson is 4-for-8 and he is a much better defensively than Swisher in right-field.
- TBS play-by-play man Brian Anderson harped all over the Yankees for the entire game about how terrible they have been with runners in scoring position this season. By the time the bottom of the seventh rolled around, the Yankees appeared to be motivated to shut him up and they did. They were 5-for-10 with RISP in the game. The only home run of the game came from Granderson in the first inning. It was his 16th of the season. So much for living and dying by the home run.
- Nova was touched for three runs on 11 hits and a walk over his 6 2/3 innings of work. On the surface that seems real bad. However, Nova gave up only singles and he pitched out of trouble enough to strand seven runners over seven innings. He also was helped by a pair of double plays. So although Nova was seemingly in trouble most of the day, he did deliver a quality start.
- Teixeira was 0-for-4 in the game with one strikeout and he did not manage to get a ball out of the infield. His batting average dropped to .248.
- Nova’s biggest problem of the day was not the 11 hits he gave up but in fielding his position. In the second inning he failed to turn two comeback grounders into double plays and it led to the Mets scoring all three of their runs in that inning. Jeter also made an error that inning, dropping a perfect throw from Cervelli to nab a stealing Jason Pridie. The Yankees are 12th in the AL in fielding despite the fact they have Gold Glove winners at every infield position, including catcher.