Before Jonathan Niese started to locate his curveball, a sharp, breaking hook that he can throw on the black, the Yanks scored three first inning runs. Then Niese composed himself and didn’t allow another run through six. Ivan Nova, on the other hand, couldn’t get his fastball down, and wasn’t getting the Mets to hit harmless ground balls.
Both teams got hits and had runners on base but the score was 3-1 by the time the starters were done. They had help from their fielders–Alex Rodriguez made a sensational play, fielding a ball to his right and then throwing Ruben Tejada out at first; Robinson Cano made a difficult short hop look easy as he turned a double play, Daniel Murphy fielded a hard line drive by Cano, Brett Gardner made a lovely running catch, and Mark Teixeira saved Rodriguez from throwing errors with slick scoops in the sixth and ninth.
The most exciting play of the game involved Jose Reyes who led off the seventh inning with his second base hit of the game. Justin Turner flew out to deep center field before Reyes had a chance to swipe second, but the shortstop tagged up and advanced to second anyway. Granderson’s throw came in on a bounce to Eduardo Nunez, the cut-off man. Nunez fumbled the ball and Reyes kept running. Nunez went after the ball, picked it up and threw it on a bounce to third. Everything happened so fast. The third base ump was caught in the outfield, running back to third, while the home plate ump rushed to the bag too. Rodriguez caught the ball and made a swipe tag at Reyes. The home plate ump, shielded by Rodriguez’s body signaled that Reyes was out. Then, as Rodriguez shook his fist, Reyes was yelling and soon Terry Collins was yelling too, and he said enough to get himself kicked out of the game.
David Robertson pitched a scoreless eighth, the Yanks tacked on a few insurance runs and Mariano Rivera, in a non-save situation, came in to get the final two outs in the ninth.
Final Score: Yanks 5, Mets 1.
A satisfying win. Nunez had four hits. The last one was off a high fastball and he hacked at it like a lumber jack chopping wood. It made that crisp, hard crack that is as true a sound as you ever want to hear in baseball, and it was good enough to drive in a run. Nunez is a work-in-progress in the field and I hold my breath on every ball that is hit his way, but he’s hanging in there and contributing.
[Photo Credit: Chris (archi3d) and Nick Laham, Getty Images]