Results tagged ‘ Ruben Tejada ’

Mo’s 1st blown save comes in Citi Field finale

Was that any way to treat a legend?

The Mets were nice and friendly before the game by giving Mariano Rivera gifts for his farewell appearance at Citi Field and even having him throw out the ceremonial first pitch. There were even cheers from the crowd when Mo entered the game in the bottom of the ninth to try and nail down his 19th consecutive save and give Hiroki Kuroda a deserved winning decision.

Mets players had other ideas, however, and struck hard and quickly against the game’s greatest closer. The man who threw out the first pitch ended up with his first loss of the season with the last one, off of which Lucas Duda lined a single to right field that gave the Mets their second 2-1 victory in a row over the Yankees.

There was a suddenness to all this that is not often seen against Rivera. I do not remember the last time I saw him not get a single out in an appearance. Daniel Murphy, who was frustrated throughout these two games because of Brett Gardner’s defense, got the ball rolling in the ninth with a double down the left-field line.

David Wright followed by fighting off an inside cutter and getting the ball into center field for a single that scored Murphy with the tying run that stuck Mo with his first blown save of year. Rivera also made an uncustomary mistake by not backing up the plate on Gardner’s throw home. The ball got by catcher Chris Stewart, which allowed Wright to advance into scoring position at second base. Duda’s hit came three pitches later off another inside cutter.

After being ejected for arguing an umpire’s call in the sixth inning, Mets manager Terry Collins watched the rest of the game from a video room near the clubhouse. With tapes of Rivera on the screen, Collins told Mets players who came into the room that they should be aware that Mo will be around the plate and they needed to stay inside with their swings, not to think long ball. Very sound advice, it turned out.

Rivera told reporters that his location was fine and gave the Mets credit for getting good swings against him. In a matter of minutes, the Mets stunned the game’s greatest closer and kept their phenom, Matt Harvey, from suffering his first loss of the season

Anticipated pitching duels do not always materialize. Tuesday night’s Round 2 of the Subway Series lived up to its billing, however.

Although attention from ESPN to the national television audience centered on Harvey, Kuroda stole the spotlight. Do not misunderstand me. Harvey was brilliant and showed that he has been worth all the accolades he has received. This kid is clearly the goods.

But as Yankees fans can attest, so is Kuroda. With CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes having uneven seasons and Andy Pettitte and Ivan Nova having done time on the disabled list, Kuroda has been the most dependable starter in the Yanks’ rotation. He is no stranger to the Mets, whom he faced often in his National League years with the Dodgers, but he has been a much different pitcher in his games against them for the Yankees.

Kuroda was 1-5 with a 5.75 ERA against the Mets in seven starts with the Dodgers. Since taking part in the Subway Series the past two years, Kuroda has yet to give up a run to the Mets over 14 innings. The righthander scattered four singles, did not walk a batter and struck out seven in his seven innings of work. Nearly a year ago, Kuroda pitched seven shutout innings and allowed one hit in beating the Mets, 9-1, June 8, 2012 at Yankee Stadium.

Harvey made only one real mistake in his eight innings – a changeup that stayed up for Lyle Overbay, who singled home the Yankees’ only run. It was earned but somewhat tainted since Gardner got to second base after his leadoff single on an error by right fielder Marlon Byrd. Harvey allowed six hits, all singles, with no walks and 10 strikeouts.

For the second straight night, Gardner lent his glove hand in support of his pitcher. Once again, Murphy was the victim. Gardner robbed the Mets’ second baseman of a two-run home run in Monday night’s 2-1 Mets victory. The larceny this time was not as costly, but it did likely cost the Mets one run.

In the sixth inning with Ruben Tejada on first base after reaching on an error by Robinson Cano, Murphy launched a drive to left-center where Gardner raced over and made a lunging, one-handed grab to ruin a bid for an extra-base hit. Tejada almost certainly would have scored had the ball not been caught. Tejada moved to second on a passed ball by Stewart, but Kuroda teamed with shortstop Reid Brignac for an inning-ending pickoff, which was hotly contested by Collins, who got the boot.

Murphy would get revenge on Gardner in the bottom of the ninth by beating his throw home to give the Mets life and head the Yankees toward their first three-game losing streak of the season. The Subway Series moves to the Bronx Wednesday night. It has been a bumpy ride so far.

CC vs. R.A. not so OK after all

Sunday night’s finale of the Subway Series at Citi Field was another case of a dream match-up not living up to its marquee value. The anticipated pairing of the Yankees’ CC Sabathia and the Mets’ R.A. Dickey was something of a letdown as neither pitcher was at his best. Neither was involved in the outcome, either.

The Yankees got to Dickey for five runs and five hits in his six innings during which his pitching line had some elements of a knuckleball pitcher (one hit batter, one wild pitch, one error) that he had been avoiding in his magical, 11-1 season. Perhaps the best thing Dickey did was to single in the fifth inning and eventually come around to score.

Sabathia had leads of 4-0 and 5-1 but failed to get through the sixth inning for the first time this season. His defense failed him as well as only one of the five runs he yielded was earned. CC’s catcher, Chris Stewart, made two throwing errors, one of which led directly to a run. An error by second baseman Robinson Cano helped fuel the Mets’ sixth when they tied the score with three more unearned runs.

The Mets lead the majors in two-out runs, and the four they got to square things by the sixth were all of that variety. Dickey scored in the fifth on a two-out single by Ruben Tejada. The last pitch Sabathia threw was hit for a two-out, two-run single by Andres Torres. Tejada followed that with another two-out, RBI single off reliever Cory Wade, who walked David Wright to load the bases but came back to strike out pinch hitter Kirk Neuwenhuis.

Cano atoned for his muff the next inning when he powered a 2-0 changeup from Miguel Batista over the center field wall for his 16th home run. That would prove the deciding run in the Yanks’ 6-5 victory that gave them a 5-1 record in this year’s Subway Series.

Mets manager Terry Collins had hoped Citi Field would play larger than Yankee Stadium and the long ball would not be as much a factor as it was two weekends ago when the Yankees swept the three-game set. They out-homered the Mets, 8-2, at the Stadium in that series and nearly did the same, 7-2, at Citi Field.

Winning pitcher Boone Logan (2-0), David Robertson and Rafael Soriano (15th save) combined for three shutout innings as the Yankees’ bullpen again dominated the Mets. In the six Subway Series games this year, Yankees relievers combined to go 3-0 with three saves and a 1.65 ERA in 16 1/3 innings. So it was not just home runs the Yankees used to handle the Mets.

You keep hearing about how the Subway Series has lost much of its appeal and lacks the intensity of past years. Don’t believe it. This year’s home-and-home series drew a total of 270,828 persons to Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. They averaged 45,138 per game and drew the two largest gates in Citi Field’s four-season history.

With the Major League Baseball schedule changing next season due to realignment with the Astros moving from the National League Central to the American League West, the Subway Series is likely to be reduced from six games to four or perhaps even three. Many of the players on both teams and both managers seem to believe that is a good idea, a view that might not be shared in the front office when they consider that two or three capacity crowds will probably be sacrificed.

Nunez healthiest shortstop in New York

The mumbo jumbo you hear in press boxes can be mind-numbing at times. In the third inning, the Mets removed Jose Reyes from the game and inserted Ruben Tejada at shortstop. Reyes has been the most exciting player in the National League, maybe even its Most Valuable Player, for three months, so when he comes out of the game it is big news.

An announcement came soon after that Reyes felt tightness in his left hamstring while running to first base to beat out a single in the bottom of the first inning. He was taken out of the game, the announcement continued, as a precaution.

Huh? As a precaution against what? Why not just say that Reyes came out of the game because he was hurt? If he is not playing because they don’t want him to injure the hamstring more, that is an admission that Reyes is already hurt. A player doesn’t come out of a game if he is not hurt unless a manager starts emptying his bench in the late innings of a lopsided game. This was in the third inning of a scoreless game. Reyes is a hurt player, the degree of which is all that is in question.

So with Reyes out of the game and Derek Jeter on an injury rehabilitation assignment at Double A Trenton Saturday night, the shortstop focus in Subway Series II at Citi Field has fallen on the Yankees’ Eduardo Nunez, who is having an impressive series.

Nunez had four hits and an RBI in the Yankees’ 5-1 victory Friday night and doubled in each of his first two at-bats in Saturday’s late-afternoon game. Nunez has had shaky moments in the field as Jeter’s caddy during the past fortnight, but overall he has done a decent job.

“I’m not trying to replace Jeter because he’s Derek Jeter; he’s Hall of Fame,” Nunez said. “I’m a young guy, and I have to learn a lot and do my best. I don’t think about going back to the bench, I just think about the moment and enjoy my game. Any part of the game they need me: bunt, stolen base, anything that they need from me, I’ll be ready. I know he’s going to come back, but I just want to play hard and in time my moment is going to come to be an everyday player.”

While the Mets may be dealing with another possible injury, the Yankees are getting healthier. Jeter is on the mend and due to rejoin the team Monday at Cleveland and to resume his pursuit of 3,000 career hits. Barolo Colon was back on the mound after missing three weeks with a strained left hamstring of his own. Space for Colon was cleared on the Yankees’ 25-man roster with the option of pitcher Brian Gordon to Scranton/Wilkes Barre where he will go into the Triple A affiliate’s rotation.

It looked as if Colon had never gone away. The infield single by Reyes was the only hit off the veteran righthander through the first four innings in which he struck out six batters, all but one on a called third strike.

Colon also tried to help himself with the bat in the third inning when he bunted Nunez to third base. The Mets brought the infield in against Brett Gardner, who hit a grounder to first baseman Lucas Duda, who threw home to nail Nunez trying to score. Nunez was at second base again in the fifth when Colon came to bat, but there were two out this time and the pitcher was swinging away – into the sixth strikeouts by the Mets’ impressive rookie Dillon Gee.