Friday, May 31, 2013

Yanks get swept away

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, MAY 31- For the first time since the inter league Subway Series started in 1997 with the two New York baseball teams, the Mets swept the cross-town rival Yankees with a 3-1 win Thursday night in the Bronx. The home-and-home series of four games that started in Flushing Queens Monday night concluded in the Bronx with two more games at Yankee Stadium

And for the Mets, a team that had been struggling, the series brought out the best in them with good pitching, timely hitting, and they left the Bronx with a season high five-game winning streak.

The Yankees, on the other hand, are the New York team now in a struggle. They lost their fifth straight, a season high and get ready for division rival Boston for the start of a three-game series that begins Friday evening at Yankee Stadium.

“When you play 162-games you are going to go through these things,” commented Yankees manager Joe Girardi. It is the longest season losing streak under Girardi as manager and the Yankees have now dropped seven of their last nine games.

The Mets streak matched their longest of the last two seasons. They came to the Bronx and picked up where they left off in Queens. That included getting in front early and outstanding pitching.

Thursday night, it was Dillon Gee who quieted the Yankees lineup that suddenly seems vulnerable to the strikeout, as they await the return of first baseman Mark Teixiera and third baseman Kevin Youkillis.

Both continued to rehab with appearances Thursday at Double-A Trenton. They went 1-for-3 against Erie, played seven innings and could be activated this weekend during the Boston series.

But the way, Gee, the Mets’ right hander pitched Thursday night it was hard to get hold of his fastball and changeup. He got his second win in the month of May, the other coming the first of the month against the Marlins. More importantly, Gee needed to step up as his spot in the Mets rotation is in jeopardy with the arrival soon of rookie prospect Zach Wheeler.

Gee struck out a career-high 12, in 7.1 innings, walked none and after a one-out home run ball to Robinson Cano, he retried his last 15 batters. It was his longest outing since going 6/1-3 innings after having shoulder surgery last July to remove a blood clot from his pitching shoulder.

Mets pitchers in the last three games did not issue a walk which also tied a franchise record done three previous times.

“Obviously it’s fun to be out there and pitch, like that,” commented Gee. “Tonight was to be aggressive as possible and force contact and be the guy to control the game.

Gee, (3-6) admitted he had no idea that his pitch count was at 88-pitches and that he had amounted a career high in strike outs until he left the mound. Collins told him good job, and it was not done for precaution. The situation with Robinson Cano due up in the inning had more to do with it.

Regardless, the Yankees had no idea how to attack Gee. And in three of the four games with their cross-town rivals, they were held to one-run.

Girardi said it was no fun the past four games. Losing will do that, so will a five-game losing streak. “Up until these first five games we have been winning a lot of series,” he said.

The optimism was the quality start from left hander Vidal Numo. He made a cause to stay in the Yankees rotation when Andy Pettitte returns from the 15-day disabled list. Pettitte threw 76 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday down in Tampa.

Nuno,(1-2) limited the Mets to 3-hits and two earned runs. He tossed a career high 6.0 innings for the second straight start, retiring 15 of the final 16 batters he faced and did not allow a hit after a double by Anthony Recker in the second inning.

The tenth Yankees rookie pitcher to make a start in the S ubway Series, Nuno was touched for two runs in the second inning. Marlon Byrd hit his second home run in as many days, his sixth of the season that gave the Mets another early inning lead in the four game series.

“It’s hard to lose to your cross-town rivals but it happens,” said Girardi.

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