Yanks suffer a sweep in the subway

Maybe it was a good thing that the Subway Series was reduced from six games to four this year. The Yankees could do without any more games against the Mets, thank you. The annual, cross-borough matchup was all blue and orange as anyone passing the Empire State Building this week knows.

The Yankees did not need to stare at the midtown landmark to know what the Mets did to them the past four nights. Thursday night’s 3-1 loss was another example of an offensive breakdown. After Robinson Cano accounted for the Yankees’ only run with one out in the third inning, the next 20 batters were retired.

Dillon Gee looked like Tom Seaver as the Mets righthander gave up only three singles other than Cano’s 14th home run with no walks and 12 strikeouts, including the last five batters he faced, in 7 1/3 innings. Relievers Scott Rice and Bobby Parnell (ninth save) handled matters from there.

The Yankees failed to draw a walk for the third consecutive game. They had only two walks in the four games and struck out 40 times. They scored seven runs overall and only one in three of the games as their losing streak expanded to five games, their longest in two years. They wasted a decent start from rookie lefthander Vidal Nuno (6 innings 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts) and could not keep the taunts of “Let’s Go Mets” from being heard throughout the game among the Yankee Stadium crowd of 44,207.

This is definitely a low point for the Yankees, who were swept by the Mets in the Subway Series for the first time since inter-league play began in 1997. There are 11 players on the current roster that played in the Subway Series for the first time. They were looking forward to the experience going in but have little positive to say about it now.

“We have got to find a way to get out of it,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Tomorrow is as good a day to get back to our winning ways as any.”

Tomorrow (Friday) the first-place Red Sox roll into town for a three-game series. Boston has a two-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East, which means they have to sweep to get back into first place. There is a good chance that Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis will be activated for the series. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees sent a limousine to Trenton to get them to the Bronx.

“I hope they feel good and can be productive,” Girardi said.

Nuno was victimized by Marlon Byrd’s second home run of the series, a two-run shot to left in the second inning. Cano’s homer in the bottom half made the score 2-1, and it stayed that way until the eighth when Joba Chamberlain, in his first game back from the disabled list, was guilty of a costly wild pitch that set up a run when John Buck’s slow roller along the third base line hit the bag for an RBI single.

The Yankees have lost back-to-back series for the first time since going 1-2 in each of their first two series of the season, against the Red Sox April 1-4 and the Tigers April 5-7 and were swept in back-to-back series for the first time since 2009, 0-2 vs. the Red Sox May 4-5 and 0-2 vs. the Rays May 6-7.

The Yanks finished the Subway Series 0-4, which matches their most losses in a single season against the Mets (2-4 in both 2004 and ’08). The four-game losing streak against the Mets is the Yankees’ longest against them. According to the Elias Sport Bureau, the Yankees were swept in a season series of at least four games against a single team for only the second time in franchise history. They were 0-12 against the Athletics in 1990.

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