Hey, Mets; Yanks are in 1st place, too
You have probably read numerous accounts in the media how the Mets are poised to supplant the Yankees as the No. 1 baseball team in New York. The return of Matt Harvey, the 14-4 start, the 10-0 record thus far at Citi Field, all of that has Mets fans ready to declare their team king of the New York hill.
Well, not so fast, Mr. Met.
The Yankees made it clear this past weekend they are not ready to roll over and let the Mets steal their thunder. Sure, Harvey was everything everyone says about him Saturday, but the other two games belonged to the Yankees, who overcame a 2-0, first-inning deficit Sunday night to win the rubber game of the series, which was easily the sloppiest for both squads.
But it was the Mets who really saved their worst for last. Jonathan Niese coughed up the lead with help from teammates who sprung leaks in the field and on the bases. The Mets were guilty of four errors, plus the embarrassment of Eric Campbell forgetting how many outs there were and getting doubled off first base.
Sunday night’s 6-4 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 47,510 at Yankee Stadium was not the most stylish of triumphs by the Yankees, either. Their infield committed two errors, and starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi could not get through the fifth inning to qualify for a winning decision that went instead to reliever Chasen Shreve, the first of his major-league career.
Eovaldi did not walk any batters and struck out six, but he gave up seven hits, many of them monstrously struck. A dazzling catch by Chris Young in center field kept the first inning from completely falling apart for Eovaldi.
Niese, who entered the game with a 1.50 ERA, let the game slip away from him in the first two innings. Alex Rodriguez’s 659th career home run started the Yanks’ comeback in the first inning. They kept it up in the second with four runs on doubles by John Ryan Murphy, Gregorio Petit, Brett Gardner and Rodriguez, a single by Young and a woefully poor throw by left fielder Michael Cuddyer. The four doubles were the most in one inning for the Yankees since the first inning of a 7-4 victory May 21, 2009 against the Orioles by Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Melky Cabrera.
Even after the Mets closed to 5-4, the Yankees did not panic and got another run in the sixth on A-Rod’s second RBI on an infield out. The key to getting that run was a Yankees challenge on what was originally ruled a groundout by Gardner. Replays showed first base umpire Adam Hamari missed the call that was reversed. Gardner eventually scored.
The Yankees wasted a leadoff double by Chase Headley in the sixth inning and made nine straight outs after that, but the Mets got nowhere with the Yanks’ bullpen, either. Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller continued their 8th-9th inning tandem. They each allowed one base runner (Betances on a third-strike wild pitch and Miller on a hit batter) but no hits and, more importantly, no runs.
The Mets’ record of 14-5 is still superior to the Yankees’ mark of 11-8, but for the weekend it was 2-1 Yanks. Now they head into a big series against the Rays, whom the Yankees swept a weekend ago at St. Petersburg, Fla. The clubs are tied for first place in the American League East, so the Mets are not the only first-place team in New York.