NEW YORK – The New York Yankees fell to their cross-town rivals in the opener of the Subway Series when the New York Mets defeated them 2-1 at Citi Field on Monday night. Phil Hughes turned in a gem on the mound, but failed to factor into the decision in a phenomenal pitching duel with Mets starter Jon Niese. The 26-year-old Hughes gave the Yankees seven innings on the mound, allowing only one run and four hits on the evening. Hughes also struck out four Mets batters during Monday’s outing, only to see his gem wasted by the Yankees bullpen.
Niese turned in a solid performance for the Mets as well. The only run allowed by Niese came in the sixth inning, which began with Brett Gardner hitting a blooper down the left field line that got past a sliding Lucas Duda and left the Yankees center fielder standing on third base. Gardner scored one batter later when Jayson Nix hit a single into right field that Mike Baxter could not bring in. Other than the sixth inning, Niese looked very good on the mound over his seven innings of work, allowing eight hits and a walk while striking out four Yankees hitters.
After motoring his way around the bases for a triple and ultimately scoring the Yankees’ first run of the game in the top of the sixth, Brett Gardner would turn in the defensive play of the game to end the bottom half of the inning. With two outs and Niese on first base, Daniel Murphy hit a fly ball to deep center field that looked like it would give the Mets a 2-1 lead. However, Gardner was tracking the ball all the way, and made a leaping catch, pulling Murphy’s shot back from over the wall and taking away a two-run home run.
In the bottom half of the seventh, the Mets would score against Hughes and tie the game at one run each. David Wright, who had already struck against Hughes for a triple in the first inning, led off the inning with an eight-pitch at-bat that culminated in him ripping a 91 MPH fastball over the left field wall.
The Mets would then take the lead in the eighth inning, scoring against relief pitcher David Robertson. After Ike Davis was called out on strikes, Mike Baxter laced a ground-rule double and Jordany Valdespin worked a pinch-hit walk. The two then advanced on a passed ball charged to Chris Stewart, forcing the Yankees to bring the infield in. It looked like the defense would hold strong for the Yankees when Ruben Tejada hit a ground ball to second base on which Robinson Cano made a great play, and then fired home in time for Stewart to make a sweeping tag.
This brought runners to the corners with two outs in a game tied at one. The usually reliable Robertson squared off with Daniel Murphy, who laced a single up the middle, scoring Valdespin. Robertson’s night would end one batter later when he hit David Wright in the elbow with a pitch. Boone Logan would record the final out of the inning, but the Mets had done the damage necessary to win the game.
The Subway Series continues on Tuesday evening at Citi Field when veteran right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (6-3, 2.67 ERA) hits the mound for the Yankees. Pitching for the Mets will be rookie phenom Matt Harvey (5-0, 1.93 ERA). First pitch will be at 7:10 PM on MY9 TV.
Dan is usedview.com’s beat writer for the New York Yankees and the Trenton Thunder. Follow him on Twitter at @danpfeiffer74 for all the latest New York Yankees news.