Results tagged ‘ Jason Bay ’

Yanks fall to pitcher on the comeback trail

Sometimes the best story is in the other dugout. That was the case Friday night as comeback-minded Jeremy Bonderman came up with a quality start for the Mariners against the Yankees in a 4-1 Seattle victory. The righthander did not pitch the past two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and a right chest ailment.

Bonderman has not had much success against the Yankees over the years (4-9, 5.24 ERA). He got off to a shaky start by giving up a leadoff double to Brett Gardner and a walk to Robinson Cano. Two infield outs pushed across a run. An inning later, the Yanks got the first two batters on again when Vernon Wells reached on an error by shortstop Brendan Ryan and Ichiro Suzuki singled.

Wells was caught off base when Reid Brignac failed to drop down a sacrifice bunt. Bonderman came back to strike out Brignac and get Chris Stewart on a flyout. The Yankees got only one more hit off Bonderman, a one-out single by Brignac in the fifth, as he retired 17 of 18 batters before departing after the sixth inning.

Bonderman, once a fireballer, no longer throws as hard, but he kept the ball out of the middle of the plate and had the Yankees off balance most of the night. It was a major improvement over his first start June 2 for Seattle when Bonderman allowed seven earned runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings in a 10-0 loss to the Twins at Minneapolis. With his strong effort against the Yankees, Bonderman lowered his ERA from 13.50 to 6.75.

It was a trade involving the Yankees that helped get Bonderman’s major-league career started. A first-round draft pick of the Athletics in 2001, Bonderman was part of a three-team, seven-player deal in which the Yankees acquired Jeff Weaver from the Tigers, who got Bonderman from the A’s, who got Ted Lilly from the Yanks.

Detroit was a last-place club at that time, which sped Bonderman’s rise to the majors by 2003. He was part of a corps of young pitchers who changed the fortunes of the Tigers, who reached the World Series in 2006. Elbow and chest problems eventually derailed a career that he is trying hard to revise. Friday night’s performance was a good start.

It was not a good start for Hiroki Kuroda, who is now winless in four starts since May 22 in which he is 0-3 with a no-decision and a 5.23 ERA. That stretch includes seven shutout innings May 28 against the Mets at Citi Field in a game lost by Mariano Rivera in his only blown save of the season.

For three consecutive innings, Kuroda allowed a two-out double. He stranded the runners the first two times but was not as fortunate the third time. After Mike Morse doubled over the fence in center field, Kuroda walked the next two batters to load the bases. The second walk was a killer since it was to catcher Kelly Shoppach, a strikeout machine (43 Ks in 98 at-bats).

Ryan, the 9-hole hitter batting .218, lined a single to right field that put the Mariners ahead, 2-1. A grounder up the middle by Endy Chavez struck the second base bag for a single that reloaded the bases. Kuroda got a pitch up to another struggling hitter, Jason Bay (.224), who rapped it into left-center for a two-run single and a 4-1 Seattle lead.

Just as Thursday night came down to one inning as the Yankees scored all six runs of their 6-1 victory in the third, so, too, did Friday night for the Mariners with all their runs in the fourth.

Pettitte gets ‘trapped’

When the manager comes to the mound during an inning with the pitching coach and a trainer, it is never a good sign for a pitcher. That is what happened in the fifth inning Thursday night when Joe Girardi, Larry Rothschild and Mark Littlefield didn’t like what they saw after Andy Pettitte struck out the first two batters.

Video replays after the strikeout of Kyle Seager showed Pettitte grimacing. Girardi did not want to take chances with his 40-year-old lefthander and removed him after a brief conference. Shawn Kelley got all the time he needed to warm up and finishing the inning by striking out Kendrys Morales. The diagnosis on Pettitte was a tight left trapezius, a muscle that spans the neck and shoulder.

Pettitte said the area was tight all game but stiffened to the point that he could get no extension after the fourth inning. Between innings, he got a massage from Littlefield and felt better, but the tightness came back on the first pitch he threw that inning to Jason Bay.

“It’s frustrating,” Pettitte said. “I wanted to give us some length after we got a short start [Phil Hughes] Wednesday night. I hope it’s just a spasm that settles down.”

It was something of an uneven outing for Pettitte, who was touched for two runs and four hits with three walks, five strikeouts and a wild pitch in 4 2/3 innings. By leaving the game with the score 2-1 Mariners, Pettitte was not in position to have a chance for his 250th career victory. The Mariners hung on for a 3-2 victory to take the series, 2 games to 1. The Yankees were outscored, 18-8, by the second worst offense in the American League and came out of the series hobbling.

“I didn’t feel like I was real sharp,” Pettitte said. “It has been a real battle the past four starts.”

It was a rough night all around for the Yankees’ battery. Catcher Chris Stewart tweaked a groin running the bases in the seventh inning and was replaced by Austin Romine. Stew underwent an MRI after the game. The Yankees were hopeful about the result because Stewart had told Girardi he didn’t hear a pop. Keep your fingers crossed. With Francisco Cervelli already on the disabled list, the Yanks are running out of catchers.

Pettitte’s counterpart, Mariners starter Hector Noesi, also made an early exit and did not qualify for a winning decision. Noesi, who was an emergency starter for Aaron Harang (back spasms) and on a moderated pitch count (79), was replaced by Oliver Perez after Stewart singled David Adams, who was hit by a pitch leading off the fifth, to third base with one out. Perez got out of the jam with a strikeout of Brett Gardner and an infield pop by Jayson Nix.

Noesi, who was 2-12 with a 5.82 ERA for the Mariners last year, has not won a game in more than a year. The righthander has lost nine straight decisions since his most recent victory May 6, 2012, 5-2, over the Twins. What proved the deciding run was a home run to center off Kelley by Michael Morse, who had a damaging series (7-for-11, 4 runs, 1 double, 2 home runs, 2 RBI).

Despite the homer by Morse, Kelley pitched well with five more strikeouts in two innings. He has struck out 12 of the past 17 batters he has faced and 30 overall in 17 1/3 innings. Among the other few positives for the Yankees was Ichiro Suzuki ended a 0-for-22 slump with a seventh-inning single and Curtis Granderson getting three hits and stealing a base.

The Yankees provided some drama in the ninth when Brett Gardner singled with one out off Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen (11th save) and stole second and third. Girardi could not use Travis Hafner, still bothered by left shoulder tendinitis, as a pinch hitter so Jayson Nix hit for himself and struck out. Robinson Cano had the last crack and grounded out.

Yankees miss sure hands of Jeter

The absence of Derek Jeter finally showed in the Subway Series. The Captain seemed like an afterthought for most of the weekend as attention centered on Eduardo Nunez and deservedly so. Nunez had 7-for-8 (.875) with 3 doubles, 1 home run and 2 RBI for the Yankees in their victories Friday night and Saturday.

Nunez did a solid job, especially offensively, while DL was on the DL. In 17 games and 59 at-bats since June 14, Nunez hit .339 with a .381 on-base percentage, a .525 slugging percentage, 5 runs, 5 doubles, 2 homers, 7 RBI, 4 walks and 4 stolen bases. He also committed four errors and had a few adventures on the bases, but for the most part earned his teammates’ praise and a vow from manager Joe Girardi to work him into more games over the second half.

As impressive as Nunez was, there was still a sense that the Yankees missed the qualities Jeter brings to the table, chiefly reliability. I know I sound like a broken record about this, but when it comes to defense I have heard managers and coaches over the years talk about how important it is for an infielder to make the routine play consistently.

Jeter has been criticized in recent years for a decline in range at shortstop, but boys and girls, he makes all the plays an infielder is supposed to make, is always in the proper position on cutoffs and makes runners think twice about challenging his strong arm.

This all came to mind as I watched the Yankees lose Sunday’s Subway Series finale due in large part to an error by a shortstop not named Jeter. It wasn’t Nunez, who was scratched because of a tight hamstring. There was a lot of that going around this series. Mets shortstop Jose Reyes came out of Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury, too.

Ramiro Pena played shortstop for the Yankees Sunday and made two errors. Left fielder Brett Gardner came to his rescue in the ninth inning by charging the ball that got through Pena for his first error and making a strong throw to the plate to prevent what would have been the winning run from scoring.

Gardner nor any other Yankees outfielder could do anything about Pena’s second error. It came in the 10th on a bobbled grounder that should have been the third out but extending the inning and loaded the bases. Jason Bay’s single to right field prevented the Yankees from a sweep and ended their seven-game winning streak.

Such an inning is a reminder of how differently a game can be without Jeter’s presence. He was to play Sunday night for Double A Trenton on injury rehabilitation and is expected to rejoin the Yankees Monday at Cleveland and resume his quest for 3,000 career hits.

This was a tough loss for the Yankees, considering the cross-town rivalry and how close they came to pulling off the sweep. They were one strike away with Mariano Rivera on the hill, but Ronny Paulino punched a single to right to tie the score. Rivera’s first blown save against the Mets in 12 years started with a two-out walk to Bay, very uncharacteristic for Mo.

The Yankees will also have Phil Hughes back in the rotation at Cleveland. He is scheduled to start Wednesday night in place of Ivan Nova, who was optioned to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It was not an easy call for the Yankees. Nova pitched well (8-4, 4.12 ERA), but so have Bartolo Colon, who had six shutout innings in his return start off the DL Saturday, and Freddy Garcia, who got a hard-luck no-decision Sunday.

The Yankees want to keep Nova on a starter’s regimen at Triple A rather than have him pitch out of the bullpen for them. Optioning a young player to the minors while he is performing well in the majors can be tricky. The key is for Nova not to take it as a demotion and keep pitching with the same determination and effectiveness.

Colon didn’t skip a beat

With six shutout innings for the Yankees in their 5-2 victory over the Mets Saturday at Citi Field, Bartolo Colon continued his remarkable comeback story that had been interrupted with a three-week stint on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he had hoped to get an 80-pitch effort from Colon, who had precisely that total, and for all but one of those innings Colon was locked in a scoreless duel with Mets rookie Dillon Gee.

The only threat against Colon came in the fifth when the Mets loaded the bases with one out on three consecutive singles. That brought Gee to the plate. In a similar situation in the sixth inning Friday night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi lifted his pitcher for pinch hitter Jorge Posada. Mets manager Terry Collins decided to let Gee bat rather than try to break the game open at that point.

The Yankees and Colon should be grateful. Gee held his own in a seven-pitch at-bat before hitting a high, one-hopper that Alex Rodriguez gloved near third base, stepped on the bag and threw to first to complete a rally-killing double play.

Okay, so maybe it was too early in the game to pinch-hit for a pitcher who was throwing a shutout, but another piece of strategy would have been to instruct Gee not to swing the bat at all. With that thought in mind, the worst thing that can happen is a strikeout, which is only one out.

That’s where the departure of National League Most Valuable Player candidate Jose Reyes, who left the game in the third inning because of a tight left hamstring, helped the Yankees. Gee might not have been swinging the bat at all if Reyes was the on-deck hitter.

Nevertheless, Gee’s at-bat was a turning point. He had been pitching a gem matching Colon and then suddenly everything fell apart. When it came to breaking open the game, the Yankees took charge the inning immediately after Gee’s at-bat.

Curtis Granderson’s 22nd home run got the Yankees on the board, and they on three more runs on singles by Mark Teixeira and Rodriguez, a two-run triple by Robinson Cano and a sacrifice fly by Nick Swisher. Eduardo Nunez completed a 3-for-4 game with a homer in the eighth. Nunez has 7-for-8 in the series and is putting himself more in the Yankees’ picture with every game.

Colon could also be grateful that the Mets never attempted a single bunt against him. I mean, why not? Here was a 38-year-old, stocky pitcher off a hamstring injury in his first start in three weeks, and nobody on the Mets thought it would be a good idea to lay one down here and there to test Colon’s agility.

Jason Bay came closest with a full-swing trickle of a grounder for a single that started the rally in the fifth. Colon barely moved in attempting to field the ball, so it was clear the pitcher was not going to risk re-injury. I don’t blame him, but if I’m in the other dugout I’m thinking of taking advantage of that.

It might have been the only strategy that had a chance to work.

Yanks to honor ‘My Dad, My MVP’ winner July 24

Frank Sumi of North Tonawanda, N.Y., is the Yankees’ winner of Major League Baseball’s 20011 “My Dad, My MVP” contest, a campaign that gives fans an opportunity to celebrate the father figures in their lives.

Sumi was nominated by his son, Ryan, who was born with a spinal deformity and hydrocephalus, a condition in which fluid builds up in the brain causing it to swell. Since Ryan’s birth, Frank has dedicated his life to caring for him, even in the face of his son’s numerous health problems.

Essentially serving as Ryan’s nurse, Frank aids in numerous tasks, including dressing him. Whenever possible, father and son enjoy going to sporting events and participating in adaptive sports.

The Yankees will honor Frank Sunday, July 24, before their game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium. Frank will be the team’s guest in a pregame dugout visit, assist in the delivery of the lineup card to the plate and throw out the game’s ceremonial first pitch.

The “My Dad, My MVP” contest was introduced this year to recognize extraordinary fathers and father figures as part of the MLB Father’s Day celebration. More than 3,200 stories were submitted online in this inaugural campaign. One winner for each of the 30 MLB Clubs was selected by a celebrity panel of judges and nearly 270,000 fan votes on

In addition to the fan voting, a celebrity panel helped select the 30 “MVP Dad” winners. The list of judges were country music stars Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry of the duo Montgomery Gentry; MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre; Founder and Chairman of the Prostate Cancer Foundation Michael Milken; Mets left fielder Jason Bay, Orioles first baseman Derrek Lee, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy, Cubs first baseman Carlos Peña, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki, Giants relief pitcher Brian Wilson and MLB Network analyst Billy Ripken.

The winning stories were selected based on originality, quality of writing, demonstration of commitment to the role of father and public appeal.

MLB supports the prostate cancer cause during Father’s Day celebrations, specifically with the annual “Home Run Challenge” to fund the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). The initiative, which culminated on Father’s Day, June 19, and is now in its 15th year, helps increase awareness and early detection of prostate cancer.

Since its inception, this initiative has raised more than $36 million toward prostate cancer research. For each home run that was hit during 60 select MLB games from June 8-19, including all games played on Father’s Day, fans had the opportunity to make monetary donations and pledges to the PCF at, or by making a $10 donation by texting HRC to 20222.

Money raised through the “Home Run Challenge” goes directly to the PCF to advance prostate cancer research. In 2010, more than $2.3 million was raised to fight prostate cancer through the PCF “Home Run Challenge”. Major League Baseball Charities has committed $50,000 to PCF as part of this program.

Additionally, players, managers, coaches, trainers, umpires and groundskeepers wore blue wristbands and blue ribbon uniform decals symbolizing prostate cancer awareness. The blue ribbon logo also appeared on the official dugout lineup cards, which were blue. In an effort to emphasize the impact of the disease, all games played June 19 featured messages giving valuable health information about prostate cancer.

Wet and wild start in Round 2

It didn’t take long for the wet grounds at Yankee Stadium to come into play Saturday night in Round 2 of the Subway Series. Rain forced the cancellation of the Mets’ batting practice two hours before game time. About 40 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, another heavy rain shower hit the area.

The infield was covered each time, but not the outfield, so it was not surprising to see right fielder Nick Swisher slip and fall down while fielding a liner to right-center by Jose Reyes for a leadoff double in the very first inning.

The Mets loaded the bases with none out against A.J. Burnett on a single to left by Daniel Murphy and a walk to Carlos Beltran. A flyout to right by Jason Bay got Reyes home from third base. It looked as if Burnett might get out of the inning with no more damage when he struck out Fernando Martinez on a killer knuckle curve.

Justin Turner, who had three hits Friday night and was robbed of a fourth by a nifty pickup at first base by Mark Teixeira, proved a tougher challenge. Turner, a Triple A Buffalo call-up who has done a terrific job in place of injured All-Star third baseman David Wright, worked the count full before lining a single to right field that made the score 2-0.

It marked the seventh consecutive game in which Turner drove in a run, which set a Mets rookie record. Turner had shared the previous mark with Ron Swoboda, who had an RBI in six straight games in 1965. Later in his career, Swoboda played in 152 games for the Yankees from 1971-73.

The pre-game downpour did nothing to deter the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team that completed its drill by landing in shallow center field. All 10 jumpers did a magnificent job navigating their way through the rain to land safely. Equally impressive was Steven Voigt Jr., son of a Navy SEAL team member who lost his life in the Persian Gulf, who threw a perfect strike with some mustard on it for the ceremonial first pitch.

Russell Martin, who caught Voigt’s pitch, drew the Yankees even in the second inning with a two-run home run to left. It was his eighth homer, the most of any catcher in the majors this year.

Posada condition dampens walk-off win

This was going to be an uplifting post about a walk-off home run that prevented a disastrous end to what began as a very promising homestand for the Yankees. On precisely one year to the date of his previous game-winning home run, Nick Swisher squared up a 2-and-0 fastball from Orioles closer Koji Uehara and turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory.

This was the fourth walk-off victory of the year for the Yankees, who made a habit of these finishes in 2009 with 15. A.J. Burnett got the whipped-cream pie out and delighted the remains of a Yankee Stadium crowd of 44,163 who had not witnessed a scene so familiar last year since May 17 when Marcus Thames clocked Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon.

The Yankees were still celebrating among each other when word came out during manager Joe Girardi’s post-game news conference that catcher Jorge Posada was undergoing tests at New York Presbyterian Hospital for concussion symptoms. That he was not in the lineup set off no signals because Posada is often rested in day games that follow night games.

It was not until the seventh inning when Francisco Cervelli batted for himself with two out and runners on first and third and the Yankees trailing by one run that some of us in the press box suspected that Posada was not available at all because this was an obvious pinch-hitting situation.

Jorgie took a foul ball by Nick Markakis off the left side of his mask Tuesday night. He mentioned it after the game to Girardi but did not seem overly concerned until he reported to the Stadium Wednesday and told the manager that he had trouble sleeping because of severe headaches. That’s when alarms sounded, and Posada went through a battery of tests and was sent off to see a neurologist.

This is no Sissy Mary. This is Jorge Posada, who is probably the toughest guy in the room. When he gets hurt, it is usually something pretty serious. Jorgie played a game with a bone fracture in his right foot before going on the disabled list in mid-May.

Concussions are nothing to fool with. The Mets have been without left fielder Jason Bay since July 25 when he collided into a wall at Dodger Stadium. Twins first baseman Justin Morneau suffered a concussion July 7 when he got hit in the head by a knee while sliding into second base and may not play again this season.

At this point, it would appear unlikely that Posada would make the 3 -hour flight from New York to Dallas that the Yankees have scheduled Thursday night even if the test results are in his favor. Air travel is one of the worst things for a person with concussion symptoms. The Mets made that mistake last year with outfielder Ryan Church, who never fully recovered from two concussions.

Yankees players were unaware of the Posada situation after Wednesday’s game. It was sobering news to all as well it should be.

“Obviously, we don’t want to lose anyone, and Jorge’s a crucial part of this team,” said Alex Rodriguez, who started the ninth-inning comeback with a leadoff single. “So we have to hope for the best right now.”

The Yankees embark on a 10-day, nine-game trip through Texas, Tampa Bay and Baltimore. The Rangers and Rays are playoff-bound teams, and the Yankees discovered that under Buck Showalter the Orioles have gotten tougher.

“This was an important win for us,” A-Rod said. “To get swept at home is unacceptable.”

Yet it very nearly happened. After sweeping a four-game set from the Athletics and taking two of three games from the Blue Jays, the Yankees needed Swisher’s 26th home run, a jolt over the left-center field fence, to avoid losing three in a row to the last-place Orioles.

Impressive ensemble pitching by the young Orioles staff quieted Yankees bats until Swisher’s blow kept the broom in the closet. Post-game merriment was muted once Posada’s condition became known. The Yankees are headed for the backstretch of their season having to rely on Cervelli and fellow backup Chad Moeller, who a week ago was in the minor leagues.

“If I got to do it, I got to do it,” Cervelli said. “I have been learning a lot here.”

The Yankees are skipping Phil Hughes for a turn in the rotation and will go with Javier Vazquez, Burnett and Dustin Moseley in Texas. They were clinging to the hope that they would not have to skip their catcher as well.

Historic matchup so-so

The showdown between pitchers with 9-1 records Saturday at Yankee Stadium was less than advertised.

The Yankees’ Phil Hughes gave up a home run to Jose Reyes on the second pitch of the game and another to the Mets shortstop with a runner on two innings later. Mike Pelfrey also yielded a first-inning run and was touched later for two-run home runs by Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.

That was pretty much the game right there in the first four innings. Give Hughes and Pelfrey credit in that they both pitched through the seventh without their best stuff.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Saturday’s game was only the second time in major league history that both starting pitchers entered the game with at least nine victories apiece and a winning percentage of .900 or higher. The other was June 22, 1900 when the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Joe McGinnity opposed the Philadelphia Phillies’ Bill Bernhard at Baker Bowl. Both pitchers were 12-3 (.923) at the time.

Teixeira’s drive in the third essentially negated Reyes’ two-run shot in the top of that inning, always something a manager likes to see.

“We talk a lot in the spring about shutdown innings, of how important it is to go out and put up a zero the inning after you score,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “For ‘Tex’ to come right back like that was big for us.”

Granderson’s blow following a leadoff walk to Jorge Posada in the fourth was the difference maker. That Pelfrey made a pitch too good to Granderson was a mistake, since without Derek Jeter (bruised right heel) the Yankees’ bottom of the order was a bit thin with Ramiro Pena and Kevin Russo.

The home runs proved necessary because once again the Yankees struggled with runners in scoring position. They were 1-for-8 Saturday and are 1-for-17 in the series.

Hughes learned his lesson pitching to Reyes. You didn’t have to tell him three times. In the fifth inning, Hughes kept the ball away from Reyes and struck him out on a back-door breaking ball. An extraordinary play by Teixeira at first base kept Reyes off base in the eighth.

The Yankees have also done their best to keep Jason Bay from being a factor in the series. Bay, who used to give the Yanks a hard time while with the Red Sox, was 7-for-10 with two home runs and three RBI in Subway Series I last month at Citi Field but is 1-for-7 with an intentional walk in the two games at the Stadium.

Despite some command issues with his fastball, Hughes improved his record to 10-1 and got revenge against the only team to beat him this year. He remains in the All-Star conversation as the possible American League starter with his main competition coming from teammate Andy Pettitte and fellow 10-game winner David Price of Tampa Bay.

The Yankees ended Pelfrey’s five-game winning streak and handed the righthander his first loss in nine starts since May 1 at Philadelphia.

Blue and. . .ew, orange

So much for my prediction that the Yankees’ blue-and-white colors would be displayed Monday on all four sides of the Empire State Building tower, the reward for winning the Subway Series. When the Yankees take flight Monday night for Minneapolis, they may notice out the window the tower brandishing the Mets’ blue-and-orange colors.

The Mets have had a rough go of it so far this season and remain a sub-.500 team with a 22-23 record, but they earned bragging rights for their fans until the two clubs meet each other next month at Yankee Stadium by winning the rubber game of the series Sunday night, 6-4. It was the end of a brutal week for the Yankees, who have lost six of their past eight games and four games in the American League East standings to first-place Tampa Bay.

The Yankees didn’t make it easy, at least. They were down 6-0 in the fifth inning but had the tying runs on base with Alex Rodriguez up in the ninth. He waged an eight-pitch battle with Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez before striking out to end the game.

Yankees fans at Citi Field, and there were plenty this weekend and loud, thought Francisco Cervelli got rooked out of a two-run home run in the seventh. It turned out to be a long single, which was Cervelli’s own fault because he did not run full speed believing the ball was over the fence. He got only one RBI as Nick Swisher, who had walked, scored all the way from first. The ball hit an orange line atop the fence in the left field corner.

According to Citi Field ground rules, balls have to go above that line to be considered home runs. Cervelli’s ball hit just below the base of the foul pole. Had the ball hit the pole, it would have been a homer, but it was ruled in play. The umpires reviewed a video replay and verified the original call.

One decision by an umpire was rightly questioned by Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Sergio Mitre was issued a warning by plate umpire Marvin Hudson after the pitcher hit Jason Bay in the back with a pitch. Since Bay had homered in his previous two at-bats, Mitre’s act may have been suspicious, but the pitch appeared to be off-speed, perhaps even a changeup. If it was indeed a purpose pitch, it was pretty soft.

There was another close play in the ninth when Brett Gardner was thrown out at first base by David Wright on a bang-bang call by first base umpire Derryl Cousins. The video replays were inconclusive, but whatever happened to tie goes to the runner?

Gardner could have used the hit. He was 0-for-5 in the game and 0-for-13 in the series without a ball leaving the infield. He is amid a hitless string of 16 at-bats and has not gotten a hit in his past 17 at-bats against left-handed pitching. Equally slumping Mark Teixeira got singles in his last two at-bats to end a 0-for-11 drought, but they are only two of four hits in his past 28 at-bats (.143).

The dream matchup of the Yankees’ CC Sabathia against the Mets’ Johann Santana did not materialize from the Yankees’ side. Sabathia, who had owned the Mets previously (2-0, 1.20 ERA) was not at his best. He had held the Mets to a .173 average in prior games against them, but they hit .400 (10-for-25) off him Sunday night. Bay, who had not homered in 92 at-bats, took Sabathia deep twice, one a 410-foot bomb to the opposite field.

Sabathia is now winless in four starts since his last victory May 3 against the Orioles. He is 0-2 with a 5.96 ERA in that stretch. CC has allowed 27 hits, including seven home runs, in 22 2/3 innings during this dry spell. For his part, Santana was brilliant in 7 2/3 innings with a lively fastball and a tantalizing changeup.

The Yankees will be glad to get away from Bay for a while. He reached base in his last nine plate appearances in the series and was 7-for-10 (.700) with two doubles, two home runs, three RBI and six runs scored. Bay is a .353 hitter with 10 doubles, two triples, six home runs and 25 RBI in 116 career at-bats against Yankees pitching.

Bay still hurting Yankees

Jason Bay went from one rivalry against the Yankees to another when he left the Red Sox after the 2009 season as a free agent and signed a four-year, $66-million contract with the Mets. The Yankees were glad to see Bay leave the American League. By going to the Mets, Bay would play against the Yankees in only six games compared to 18 for the Red Sox.

Bay has continued his career success against the Yankees in his first Subway Series. He got a big hit Friday night, a two-out double off the left field wall at Citi Field that preceded a double by Ike Davis for a run that very nearly put Mariano Rivera on the ropes as a 2-0 score became 2-1. Mo worked out of trouble for the save, but Bay kept up his strong offense Saturday night with hits in his first three at-bats.

Bay has been a bit of a disappointment to the Mets because he has not hit with power (only one home run in 161 at-bats), but he gave Yankees pitchers fits. Phil Hughes had trouble with the middle of the Mets’ batting order as Bay, Ike Davis and David Wright combined to go 4-for-7 with two walks, two runs scored and two RBI. Bay was 4-for-4 and scored three times in the game.

His fourth hit was an infield single in the seventh off reliever Chan Ho Park. Bay essentially stole a run that inning. Park didn’t bother to look over to first base, and Bay swiped second without a throw from catcher Rod Barajas. It was close to defensive indifference. If there was such a thing as pitcher’s indifference, it would have been called on Park.

It cost him a run, too. Angel Pagan doubled down the left field line, sending home Bay, who likely would not have been able to score had he still been on first base.

In 114 career at-bats against the Yankees, Bay has batted .342 with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs and 22 RBI. Yes, the Yankees would not want him in an opposing lineup 18 times anymore.

The Mets’ fourth run off Hughes was something of a gift. Official scorer Bill Shannon generously credited Pagan with a double on a ball down the left field line that Randy Winn overran. It never hit Winn’s glove and fell for two bases. Hughes departed after yielding a two-out, RBI single to Alex Cora. Hughes threw a career high 117 pitches, of which 41 were foul balls, an unusually high total. It indicated that while the Mets were not making good contact, they made enough contact to drive up Hughes’ pitch count.

The Mets had only three foul balls in 10 combined at-bats against Park and Sergio Mitre. The loss was the first for Hughes in 12 starts since July 30, 2009 against the White Sox.

The Mets’ first two rallies against Hughes occurred after two were out and nobody on base. In each case, he gave up hits to Bay and Wright sandwiched around walks to Davis. This failure to close out at-bats made it hard for Hughes to last through six innings. Manager Joe Girardi only used two relievers, so he has a fairly fresh bullpen for Sunday night’s series finale, a match pairing two of the game’s top lefthanders and former Cy Young Award winners, the Yankees’ CC Sabathia and the Mets’ Johann Santana.

Mets starter Mike Pelfrey and four relievers combined to hold the top of the Yankees’ order in check. The first three hitters – Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira – were 0-for-13 with two walks and five strikeouts combined. Gardner and Teixeira are both hitless in the series and Jeter is 1-for-9 with a walk. Teixeira must feel like he is back in April. His batting average is down to .204, and he has struck out seven times in his past 20 at-bats.