Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mets Edge Yanks, 2-1, in Subway Series Opener

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, MAY 28- The Subway Series kicked off its 17th consecutive year on Monday night at Citi Field with an exciting pitchers’ duel. Unlike the schedule of previous seasons, the two New York teams will play two consecutive two-game series this week, Monday and Tuesday in Queens and Wednesday and Thursday in the Bronx.

The ceremonial first pitch appropriately saluted veterans on Memorial Day and the Mets in their home ballpark as Joey Falcone, a Columbia student and Navy veteran, tossed the ball to his dad, Pete Falcone, a former Mets hurler.

The two starting pitchers, Phil Hughes of the Yanks and Jonathan Niese of the Mets, did not allow a runner to cross the plate during the first five innings. One baserunner for each team reached third base during that period.

David Wright tripled with two out in the first. With one out in the top of the second, David Adams and Ichiro Suzuki singled. Lyle Overbay drew a base on balls to fill the sacks for the Yanks. Catcher Chris Stewart grounded into a double play to end the rally.

The first single tally for each club came quickly. Brett Gardner began the sixth with a triple to deep center. The next batter, Jayson Nix, singled to score Gardner. It appeared that Gardner would be the game’s star as he robbed Daniel Murphy of a two-run homer with an outstanding catch above the 385’ sign in center in the bottom of that inning, but the hero’s mantle would be placed elsewhere before the game concluded.

David Wright blasted a 2-2 pitch into the left field seats to lead-off the seventh and tie the contest at 1-1. Mets manager Terry Collins spoke of his team’s captain, “Big players make big plays [and] that’s why he’s the captain.” Yankees skipper Joe Girardi was no less impressed by Wright than Collins was, “He’s a superstar and he put a superstar at bat on him [Hughes].”

The impressive pitchers’ duel between the two starters ended in the eighth as both starters departed at the conclusion of the seventh frame. In addition to the one earned run, Niese yielded eight hits and walked one batter. Collins praised his starter, “He gave up some hits but got outs when he needed them.” Besides the four bagger hit by Wright, Hughes only gave up three hits and did not walk a batter.

The Mets broke the tie in the bottom of the eighth with reliever David Robertson on the mound. With runners on first and third, and two men out, Murphy drove in the winning run with a single to center. The hot hitting outfielder is batting .373 (23 for 59) in his last 15 games.

Mets closer Bobby Parnell converted his sixth straight save opportunity by shutting down the Yanks in the ninth. Collins believed this performance was a turning point for Parnell, “I think he’s come of age for sure. He hasn’t pitched in a game like tonight. I think he’s going to be good for a long time.”

The second of the two games in Queens will feature another potential pitchers’ duel between Hiroki Kuroda (6-3) of the Yanks and undefeated Matt Harvey (5-0) of the Mets.

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