Amazin’ Ten of 2014: #6 – May 12
In 2013, the Mets swept the season series from their American League neighbors for the first time ever. That magical post-Memorial Day week even included the orange and blue getting to the great Mariano Rivera in his last inter-city rivalry. So how would the good New Yorkers follow up against the pinstriped nemesis? This Amazin’ Ten story tells the tale.
May 12, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Chris Young (1) hits a two run home run against the New York Yankees during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
#6 – Bronx Bombing (May 12)
The Mets entered Yankee Stadium looking to pick up the pieces from a brutal first half of May. After going 15-11 in April, Terry Collins’s crew lost eight of nine before salvaging a walk-off win against Philadelphia the day before. Now, the Amazin’s were looking to regain their swagger against a Yankees squad that was slowly but surely losing its luster.
With the 7 Line Army making noise in the House that Greed Built, the Mets wasted no time getting on the board against Hideki Kuroda. Eric Young singled and stole second, advancing to third on Daniel Murphy’s groundout. David Wright plated the run with an RBI groundout of his own to make it 1-0 for the visitors.
A 1-0 lead is never safe, but even less so in the modern-day bandbox that is Yankee Stadium. In the bottom of the second, Brian McCann, Alfonso Soriano, and Yangervis Solarte each singled off Bartolo Colon to load the bases. After getting two outs, Colon was nearly out of the woods. But one swing from Brett Gardner put those hopes to rest. The grand slam put the Yanks up 4-1 and to Met fans signified a “here we go again” moment.
After two quiet innings, however, the National Leaguers got back on the comeback trail. In one of his two dates at the ballpark, Travis d’Arnaud took advantage of the dimensions that help the Yankees for 81 dates out of the year, poking a cheap flyball over the right center wall for a solo home run. In the next inning, with one on and no out, Curtis Granderson gave himself a grand homecoming with a rocket to right. The Mets used the fireworks to bring it back to 4-4.
But as anyone knows of the New York Yankees, they always keep some extra firepower in reserve. Solarte singled in the go-ahead run and scored on Kelly Johnson’s triple. Three batters later, after Carlos Torres had relieved Colon, a third run came home on a double steal. When the dust settled, the Yanks held a 7-4 lead.
This day, however, the Mets brought along their own reserve firepower. D’Arnaud led off the seventh with a walk, then after a Ruben Tejada strikeout, Eric Young came up looking to build on his first inning heroics. Heroics built: Young took Alfredo Aceves deep to right as his line drive cleared the corner fence. The Amazin’s were back within one.
May 12, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson (3) is congratulated by third baseman David Wright (5) after hitting a two run home run against the New York Yankees during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
The Bombers got a man to second with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, prompting Terry Collins to go for an option he had never considered before that day: Jenrry Mejia, newly-minted relief pitcher. A few days before he debuted his famous stomp, Mejia kicked Alfonso Soriano to the curb on a three-pitch strikeout.
With one out in the top of the eighth, Eric Campbell lined a pinch-hit double to left. Lucas Duda broke his bat but blooped a single into center field. Jacoby Ellsbury fired home, but Campbell slid in under the tag to tie the game. After a pitching change, Preston Claiborne settled in to face the Mets’ Chris Young. The future Yankee proved himself to be master of the ballpark a few months ahead of the time: Young brought a smile to his manager’s face with a line-drive home run to left center. On their fourth home run of the game, the fellows from Flushing had scored eight runs in four innings to take a 9-7 lead.
As it always is against the American Leaguers, however, things got difficult in the bottom of the ninth. At this point in the season, the Met closer by default was one Kyle Farnsworth. Farnsworth did what he did best – not inspire – by walking Derek Jeter to lead off the frame. After Ellsbury flew out to center, Mark Teixeira lined a single into right, advancing Jeter to third. The tying run was on board, and Brian McCann represented the winning run at the plate.
On a 2-0 count, McCann bounced a ball to first. Lucas Duda laid out and snagged it after one hop. A quick throw to second got the second out, and David Wright returned fire to Duda for the third. With that thrilling double play, the New York Mets were 9-7 winners in the Subway Series’s 2014 opener.
The visitors would dominate the next night to make it six straight against their Bronx rivals, while the Yankees took the next two at Citi Field to make it a series split for the season. From there, the narratives took a familiar route: the Mets finished under .500, while the Yankees ended the season at 84-78, albeit out of the playoffs. The tide is turning in the Big Apple, however. The Yanks’ biggest highlight of the past season was Derek Jeter’s retirement tour. They are stuck with aging stars who have crumbled before their eyes. They are competing in a division with the strong Orioles, rejuvenated Blue Jays, and reloaded Red Sox. The Mets, meanwhile, are one bat short of contention with enough pitching to tame even the Bronx Little League diamond. A new age is coming in New York baseball, and it is one that promises to see the orange and blue overtake navy blue and pinstripes.
May 12: the 6th most Amazin’ game of 2014. With that, we are halfway through this year’s Amazin’ Ten countdown. Monday will bring us into a new month and the #5 entry on our list.
Amazin’ Ten of 2014
#10 – DeGrom’s Finale Shuts Down Braves (September 21)
#9 – Duda Dings Dodgers (August 24)
#8 – D’Arnaud’s Return Sparks Thrashing of Kazmir (June 24)
#7 – A Grand(y) Walk-Off (April 25)
#5 – Wheeler’s Beach Party (June 19)
#4 – DeGrom Outduels Peavy (or: “Oh wow!”) [August 2]
#3 – Lagares Silences Doubters for Good (May 17)
#2 – Bartolo Colon, Rally Maker (or: “Let’s watch him run!”) [June 18]