The Mets (18-19) beat the Yankees (19-18) by a score of 9-7 on Monday night at Yankee Stadium, giving them a 1-0 lead in the 2014 Subway Series.
Bartolo Colon took the mound for the Mets tonight and struggled against his former team, allowing 7 runs (6 earned) on 11 hits in 5.2 innings.
The Mets, as they often do, got off to a quick start in this one. Eric Young led off the ballgame with a single against Hiroki Kuroda, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout by Daniel Murphy, and scored on a groundout by David Wright. Curtis Granderson ripped a single up the middle in his first at-bat back at Yankee Stadium, but Bobby Abreu, another former Yankee, was unable to drive him in.
Colon got through the bottom of the 1st pretty easily, allowing an infield single to Derek Jeter but then getting former Met Carlos Beltran to fly out to center to end the inning before the Yankees could get a real rally going.
The Mets had a pretty good chance to score in the top of the 2nd when Chris Young hit a ground-rule double to left and advanced to third on a groundout by Travis d’Arnaud. With 2 outs, Ruben Tejada hit a hard liner to left, but the speedy Brett Gardner was able to get to the ball and easily put it away to retire the side.
The Yankees came out guns blazing in the bottom of the 2nd against Bartolo. Brian McCann, Alfonso Soriano, and Yangervis Solarte each roped one into the outfield for singles, loading the bases with no outs. Colon responded by striking out Kelly Johnson, bringing Brian Roberts to the plate. Roberts hit a hard liner to the right side, but Lucas Duda was there to snare it. Duda then pivoted and fired one over to 2nd in an attempt to double off Soriano, but Soriano beat the throw by an eyelash. One pitch later, Brett Gardner (the least likely person in the lineup to hit a grand slam to right field) hit a grand slam to right field to make it 4-1 Yankees.
After Colon and Kuroda traded zeroes for a couple innings, Travis d’Arnaud hit a solo “home run” (assisted greatly by the short porch) to cut the Mets’ deficit to 2. Ruben Tejada followed up TDA with a hard shot to 3rd base, but Solarte made a nice play on it to keep Ruben off base. Solarte’s snag would loom large as the next hitter, Eric Young, doubled down the right field line, a shot which would have likely scored Tejada. With EY on 2nd and 2 out, Murphy grounded out to Jeter to end the threat.
The Mets would strike again in the top of the 6th. David Wright led off the inning with a single to right field, and Curtis Granderson tied the game by launching one over the wall in right.
The Yanks quickly answered back in the bottom of the inning. Soriano hit a ground-rule double to left and scored on a base hit from Solarte. Kelly Johnson, the next hitter, hit a drive to center, which Chris Young, starting in center in place of Juan Lagares, was unable to get to in time. Johnson ended up on 3rd with an RBI triple, and it was 6-4 Yankees. Brian Roberts was up next and the veteran 2nd baseman grounded one over to Tejada at short, who came home with it and beat Johnson by a mile. After a short rundown, Johnson was tagged out by Wright. Gardner singled to right to send Roberts to 3rd and end Colon’s night, and Carlos Torres came in to face Jeter with runners on the corners and 2 outs. The Yankees would get their 7th run of the night when TDA, trying to catch Gardner stealing second, air-mailed a throw which allowed Roberts to jog on home, but Torres retired Jeter with Gardner in scoring position to limit the damage.
Alfredo Aceves came in to pitch the top of the 7th for the Yanks, but had to wait through a brief, post-YMCA delay as the dancing Yankee Groundskeepers were called upon to actually do their job and fix the mound. After play resumed, Aceves issued a leadoff walk to d’Arnaud and Eric Young hit a rocket into the seats in right to make it a 1-run game. After Murphy singled and Wright struck out, Curtis Granderson game to the plate with a runner on first and 2 outs, and Joe Girardi countered with his lefty specialist, Matt Thornton. Murphy ran on a 2-2 pitch and was gunned down by Brian McCann to end the inning, taking the bat out of Grandy’s hands.
Scott Rice came in to pitch the bottom of the 7th for the Mets and struck out Jacoby Ellsbury for a quick 1st out. John Ryan Murphy, pinch-hitting for Beltran (who reportedly hyperextended his elbow), walked and took second on a wild pitch. After Rice struck out McCann for the 2nd out, Terry Collins brought in Jenrry Mejia, who had been moved from the rotation to the bullpen earlier in the day. Mejia answered the call, striking out Soriano on three pitches to keep it a 1-run game.
The Mets put up another crooked number in the top of the 8th. Eric Campbell, pinch-hitting for Abreu, doubled down the left-field line, and scored on a bang-bang play at the plate when Lucas Duda blooped a single to center. With the game tied at 7, Girardi brought in Preston Claiborne to replace Thornton, and Chris Young greeted the new pitcher with a shot over the left field wall to give the Mets a 9-7 lead. Tejada doubled to left to give the Mets a chance to add to their lead, but Claiborne got EY to fly out to Ellsbury to stop the bleeding.
Mejia stayed in to pitch the bottom of the 8th and gave up a leadoff single to Solarte, but got out of the inning without any runs scoring, thanks in large part to a nifty double-play started by Duda.
The Mets had a chance to get a big insurance run in the top of the 9th after Murphy singled, stole 2nd, and took 3rd on an errant throw, but Granderson struck out and Campbell hit a routine fly-ball to right to send it into the bottom of the 9th with the score still 9-7.
Kyle Farnsworth came in to try to close things out for the Mets, and as you would expect, it was a very stressful inning. Farnsworth allegedly missed the corner on a few close pitches to Derek Jeter, who had clearly given the ump one of his famous gift baskets before the game. After Jeter worked a leadoff walk, Ellsbury hit one out to fairly deep center, but Lagares (in the game for defense) got under it and put it away for the first out. With 1 out and Jeter on first, Girardi brought in Mark Teixeira to hit for John Ryan Murphy. Tex hit a shot to right which looked like a surefire double, but the hobbling first baseman was unable to get past first, keeping the tying run out of scoring position and leaving open the possibility of a double-play. Farnsworth got that double-play when a diving Lucas Duda pounced on a hard shot by Brian McCann, whipped it over to Wright at 2nd (the shift, guys, the shift), and hustled back to the bag to catch the return throw from David to complete the twin-killing and end the ballgame.
Guys, I have no idea what I just watched. The Mets turned into sluggers, Lucas Duda turned into a gold-glover, Beltran was on the Yankees, Farnsworth didn’t break our hearts, and I’m pretty sure we won. But I’ll have to check again in the morning.
But seriously, Lucas Duda had the defensive game of his life. He caught a few rockets in the early innings and started two huge double-plays down the stretch, including the game-ender. He also tied the game with his single in the 8th, but we already knew he could hit…
Chris Young broke out of his 0-for-18 skid with a couple huge hits on Sunday and came up big once again in this game. Hopefully he can keep on slugging.
Ruben Tejada has been hitting the ball hard these past couple games. When he focuses on hitting line drives, he has a chance to be a competent hitter. When he tries to hit the ball in the air, well, you’ve seen what happens then… hopefully he continues with this new approach.
Murphy has been raking lately, and he has his average up to 320. Start stuffing those ballots, Mets fans!
Travis d’Arnaud’s home run was a pretty cheap one, but it’s nice to see that he adjusted early in the game and started looking to hit the ball the other way to take advantage of the short porch. His throw on Gardner’s steal attempt was terrible, and if Jeter hadn’t illegally touched the ball for an automatic out on the next play, TDA might have rocketed his throw to first over the aforementioned short porch in right. But that happens once in awhile with catchers, so it’s nothing to get too worked up about.
Eric Young has responded very well to Terry’s decision to put him in the starting lineup the past 2 days. The stats show that the Mets are a better team when EY is in the lineup, and he seems to make things happen when he is on field. I have always thought that Lagares, Chris Young, and Granderson were all better than Eric, but maybe Terry might have to do something to get EY in the lineup a bit more often…
Granderson’s homer tonight seemed inevitable… he loves hitting in Yankee Stadium. Hopefully this series gets him going and he can keep raking when the team gets back to Citi Field.
Colon has had some very solid starts, some decent starts, and a few miserable starts. His ERA is hovering around 6 after this game, which makes him look worse than he has actually been. But still, he hasn’t been consistent enough for me to feel confident when he is on the mound. Hopefully “Good Bartolo” can start showing up a bit more often, and if the big fella could start being a bit less atrocious on days where he does not have his best stuff, that would be nice.
A few of the home runs in this contest were products of the ballpark’s tiny dimensions, but the abundance of long-balls did make it a very fun game to watch. Maybe Ruben will crack one on Tuesday night…
Beating the Yankees is always fun. Let’s do it again in Game 2. LGM!