Fresh off thrilling back-to-back late inning victories over the Yankess at Citi Field, the Mets packed-up their mojo, threw it on the team bus, and made the eight mile trek from Roosevelt Avenue in Queens to River Avenue and 161st Street in the Bronx, as the 2013 New York Subway Series shifted to the House that George Built for the final two games of this year’s inner-city showdown.
The Mets jumped on their host pitcher right away. Embattled shortstop Ruben Tejada led off the game against Yankees starter David Phelps with a crisply lined single between third and short. A pitch later, Daniel Murphy doubled to the right/center field gap, while Ruben chugged all the way from first base to score. David Wright followed, drawing a walk, setting up first and second with no outs for Lucas Duda batting clean-up. But The Duda whiffed. Not the case with John Buck, who slapped a clutch single to right, sending Murphy home with the Mets second run. Rick Ankiel stepped in with one out, and drew the second walk issued by Phelps to load the bases for Marlon Byrd. The Mets right fielder then bounced the third pitch he saw to Yanks third baseman Jayson Nix, who booted an ideal double play ball. David Wright scored on a ruled fielder’s choice, while an E-5 was charged to Nix.
As luck would find him, the struggling Ike Davis, batting in the eighth spot again, came to bat with the bases full, and quickly fell into an 0-2 hole. After battling back to a full count, Ike lined a sharp base hit beyond the reach of a diving Reid Brignac at short. Once the umpires called time, two more runs were in, as manager Joe Girardi cut a hasty path towards the mound seeking to relieve David Phelps of his duties after just 1/3 of an inning pitched. Preston Claiborne was summoned from the Yankees bullpen to face number nine batter Mike Baxter, who promptly greeted the Bronx reliever with a come-backer. Claiborne managed a force at second on Davis, however Baxter was safe at first. Marlon Byrd advanced to third on the play. Ruben Tejada then stepped in for his second at-bat of the inning, flying to left, and finally ending the top half of the first.
Staked to a five run lead, finally at 7:34pm, came Jeremy Hefner‘s turn to face the Bombers. After Brett Gardner lofted a ball harmlessly to Mike Baxter playing left, Robinson Cano went the same way, hitting a flare which fell in front of Baxter for a hit. Batting third, Travis Hafner looked at strike three from Jeremy Hefner for out number two. Clean-up hitter Lyle Overbay hit a tapper back to Hefner, who flipped to Ike Davis to end the first inning at Yankee Stadium.
Jeremy Hefner pitched himself into a little bit of trouble in the second, annoyingly may I add, against the bottom of the order. With two on and one out, Reid Brignac almost had himself a classic Yankee Stadium right field porch home run, but Marlon Byrd made the catch on the warning track. Hefner then fanned the next batter, catcher Chris Stewart.
With the Yanks Adam Warren pitching in the third inning, John Buck ripped his second well struck ball of the evening, however tracked down in right field by Brennan Boesch. Marlon Byrd followed, hitting one a little higher and a little farther than Buck’s, this time bouncing off the top of the wall and into the seats in right field for a sweet Yankee Stadium short porch home run, and a 6-0 Mets lead.
Not satisfied, the Mets struck against Warren again in the fourth inning. This time, The Duda did come through with men on base, stroking a double to left field, which plated Mike Baxter and David Wright for an 8-0 Mets lead.
Jeremy Hefner retired the Yanks in order in the third, highlighted by a strikeout of Robinson Cano. But the Bronx Bombers ruined Hefner’s shutout in the home fourth. With one out, Brennan Boesch launched a rocket to right that left the park in a hurry, making it an 8-1 game. Hefner bounced back to retire the Yanks in order in the fifth. However, Jeremy headed straight into the wall during the sixth. Stand-in Bombers Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay greeted Hefner with well struck consecutive hits. Then with runners on second and third, a mistake – Ruben Tejada fielded a ground ball by Boesch, but took too long looking back the runner at third base, and failed to record an out at first base with a late throw. That was a mental miscue that should not have occurred. Opposed to securing a sure out during an 8-1 game, Travis Hafner scored, as did Overbay on a subsequent Jayson Nix single to left.
Jeremy Hefner‘s night was through after six full innings pitched, as Coach Terry opted for Scott Rice in the seventh. The Mets first man out of the bullpen retired the Yanks in order, striking out a pair. Rice put in 1.2 innings of work, allowed no runs, no walks, one hit, and struck out three. Coach Collins made a second switch to LaTroy Hawkins to get one out in the eighth.
For good measure, the Mets strung together a few hits off Ivan Nova in the top of the ninth. Singles by Daniel Murphy and John Buck set up Rick Ankiel’s base hit to left, which delivered Murphy home with Mets run number nine. And wouldn’t you know, when Marlon Byrd’s infield single loaded the bases, Ike Davis found himself up again with the bases loaded, but grounded out, first base to the pitcher.
LaTroy Hawkins stayed in to pitch the ninth. With two outs, Hawkins allowed a single to Brett Gardner to bring up Robinson Cano, who was 1 for 4 on the night with a strikeout. Gardner was disregarded and allowed to steal second. Cano then drove him home with a bloop hit to left, making the game a 9-4 affair. The Mets chose indifference, and allowed Cano to take second AND third base as well. That’s ponderous to me. Regardless, LaTroy Hawkins finally struck out Travis Hafner to finish out a Mets victory in the Bronx, on a very positive note.
Jeremy Hefner threw 103 pitches in six full innings pitched. He was charged with three runs, all earned, on nine hits. He walked no batter and struck out five. Congratulations are in order, as Hefner finally earned his first victory of the season. His ERA sits at a 4.74 mark, but give that man a pie in the face anyway.
Your final score was 9-4, Met win.
- An embarrassment of riches – even back when the game was 5-0, hard luck pitcher Jeremy Hefner had never enjoyed such support from his offensive mates in ten previous starts this season. He worked in and out of small trouble in the second, and got hit somewhat hard in the sixth. Otherwise, he put in a fine night’s work.
- Ike Davis and Lucas Duda – once projected to be the Mets power pack of the future, combined on 3 for 10 at the plate, four RBI, and two strikeouts – one each. That makes six K’s in the series for Ike. In his defense, Ike’s bases loaded hit was a matter of a sound swing and making solid contact. It looked good, the hope is he can replicate now. I’m trying….
- Daniel Murphy hit his 17th double of the season.
- John Buck was 2 for 5, but hit the ball hard all night.
- Mets win four in a row for first time this season.
- Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada were reported to have had a closed door meeting with their skipper earlier today, and although Ruben suffered an error in judgement, overall, both generally played like their starting jobs depended on immediate productivity. Ruben showed hustle running the bases in the first inning after a fine at bat to lead-off the game. But by the late innings, Ruben Tejada’s game had regressed again with an error, and an all too familiar looking strikeout on a low breaking ball. He was removed from the game in the ninth, when chasing a pop fly down the left field line, he was called off the ball and slid, seemingly normally. Apparently not however, as he left the field with Coach Terry in apparent pain.
- Marlon Byrd’s late inning error in right field on an excuse me one hop single. C’mon.
- Scary situation with two outs in the ninth – David Wright, LaTroy Hawkins and John Buck converging on pop foul behind third base.
The Mets play the second game of their brief two game set in the Bronx tomorrow night at 7:05 PM. They’ll be going for a four game, season sweep of the Yankees. Dillon Gee gets the start for New York. He’ll be opposed by Vidal Nuno.