Alex Rodriguez hit a solid ground ball up the middle in the first inning, good for an RBI. Three batters later, Raul Ibanez came to the plate with the bases loaded. With just one out it felt like the Yanks could bust the game open against Dillon Gee and the Mets. Gee fell behind 2-0 with pitches outside and then threw two changes on the inside part of the plate. Ibanez swung through both of them, way out in front. Gee went back outside with the next pitch and got what he was looking for, namely, a ground ball. The Mets turned a double play and Gee cruised along until the sixth inning when Mark Teixeira lined a two-run home run to right field.
Teixeira hit a hanging breaking ball immediately after swinging through a fine breaking ball. The shot put the Yankees ahead, 3-2.
In the Yankee dugout, Rodriguez was pumped; Jeter was amused.
Terse and bland with reporters, but as we’ve said here before, Jeter never gets cheated in the fun department while he’s playing.
Anyway, the Mets scored their two runs on solo homers by Omar Quintanilla and David Wright.
Otherwise, Phil Hughes pitched well. Had a nice change-up mixed in with his curve and fastball. Allowed six hits and a couple of walks and struck out six. Gee’s line wasn’t flashy (five hits, three walks, three stikeouts) but he worked in-and-out–both pitchers took advantage of a wide strike zone–and pitched without incident until Teixeira’s blast.
Hughes gave up a base hit with one out in the seventh. Boone Logan relieved him and recorded an out thanks to a fine running catch by Curtis Grandreson. Corey Wade gave up a bloop base hit to Scott Hairston which put runners on the corners. Wade got ahead of Andres Torres 1-2 then missed with a fastball low and outside as Hairston stole second. The next pitch, a little higher, still outside, was lofted to Ibanez in left for the third out.
Gee stayed in the game and set the Yanks down in order in the seventh as I fretted about the eighth inning.
“Hon, we’re going to see Clay Rapada,” I told the wife, knowing that Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy were scheduled to bat after Wright led off.
“Sure do miss Mo right about now,” I said, “Never mind Robertson.”
“Yeah, instead of feeling good, now we’ve got heart attack, gasp and stroke.”
Wade got Wright to ground out and then Rapada came in and retired Duda on a weak ground ball to Cano, and Murphy on a sharp grounder to Jeter.
And I was worried…(but wait, there’s still Soriano to go in the ninth. Doesn’t matter if he’s been perfect in save opportunities since taking over the closer role this year; I miss our security blanket. I miss Mo.)
Grandy soothed my delicate nerves when he homered off Bobby Parnell to lead off the eighth.
In the ninth, Soriano walked Ike Davis to start things off and my nerves were back to bullshit. Couple of pitches were outside, including the 3-1 pitch which would be okay if they hadn’t been called strikes all night long.
Jason Bay swung through a 93 mph fastball and then got under the next pitch, another fastball, and flew out to to Granderson for the first out. Josh Tole took ball one and then a called strike (worse than ball four to Davis). He hit a slow ground ball to Jeter on the next pitch, too slow for a double play. Jeter got the lead runner and the Mets were down to their last out.
Quintanilla took strike one on the outside corner, looked at strike two in the same spot, and then at another fastball, this one too far outside. Soriano shook off Russell Martin, went back outside with another heater, which Quintanilla fouled off. A slider, low, evened the count at 2-2, and then Quintanilla ripped a groundball (fastball, cock-high, right over the plate) up the middle. It hit off Soriano and scooted past Cano into the outfield. Thole took third and yeah, this one was getting too close for comfort.
Scott Hairston was next but Jordany Valdespin came to the plate as a pinch-hitterand took ball one, high and away. Breaking ball, first one by Soriano, outside but good for a called strike. The next pitch, a fastball right over the plate was hacked at and missed. Valdespin almost came out of his shoes trying to put the Mets ahead. He popped the next pitch innocently to left field and that was that: Game, Series, Yanks.
Final Score: Yanks 4, Mets 2.
[Photo Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images]