Subway Series keeps Yankees in focus

Yankees manager Joe Girardi had hoped that despite losing four prominent players in trades over the past week his team would be energized playing against the Mets at Citi Field. The usual buzz that comes with playing in the Subway Series was just what the skipper felt the Yankees needed as they moved through what for them were the unchartered waters of being sellers at Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

There might have been too much energy displayed in the case of leadoff hitter Brett Gardner. He opened the game with a drive off the wall in right-center that rolled back towards the infield. Rather than settle for a triple, Gardy tried for an inside-the-park home run but was thrown out at the plate.

It may have been over-aggression on Gardner’s part, but he can be forgiven for trying to give an early jolt to a club that no longer has Carlos Beltran in the lineup, Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller in the bullpen or Ivan Nova in the rotation. And except for Adam Warren, the players the Yankees got in return from those trades are all in the minor leagues.

The energy turned to the Mets’ side in the middle of the game, but the Yankees got some late mojo to tie the score in the eighth and win it in the 10th. That took CC Sabathia off the hook. The lefthander squandered a 3-1 lead and put the Yanks in a 5-3 hole in the sixth when he gave up a three-run home run to recent Triple A call-up Matt Reynolds, now playing shortstop for injured Asdrubal Cabrera.

Mets relievers took control in the middle innings, but the Yankees showed plenty of life in the eighth. Gardner walked leading off the inning but was still standing on first base after Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira struck out. Brian McCann singled Gardner to third off Addison Reed, who got into a duel with Didi Gregorius. Along the way, Reed made a huge mistake with a wild pitch that allowed pinch runner Ronald Torreyes to take second base.

Gregorius fouled off three two-strike pitches before lofting a single to left field on the eighth pitch of the at-bat that sent Gardner and Torreyes scampering home. If Miller were still around, he would have come in to face the Mets in the eighth. Warren handled that instead and retired the side in order. He worked a scoreless ninth as well as the game went into extras.

Triple A call-up Ben Gamel contributed to the game-winning rally with a sacrifice bunt. Mets reliever Seth Lugo took a chance at trying for Ellsbury at third base, a risk that failed as the Yanks loaded the bases with none out. Another chance to be a hero did not work out this time for Gregorius, who struck out, but Starlin Castro got the run home with a sacrifice fly.

Dellin Betances’ new role as closer proved challenging when James Loney led off the bottom of the 10th with a double to right-center. He was bunted to third. Betances got into more trouble when he hit Alejandro DeAza with a pitch. DeAza took second on a slow roller by Rene Rivera that turned into an out at first base. Betances truly earned his first save of the year by striking out Curtis Granderson.

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