A-Rod paces offense as Yanks take series from Mets
By Anthony DiComo and Bryan Hoch
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez homered and drove in a pair of runs to pace the Yankees' attack against Jon Niese, helping to secure the first leg of the Subway Series with a 6-4 victory over the Mets on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.
The Bombers took two of three games in the weekend set as Niese was thumped for six runs (four earned) and eight hits over five innings, including a four-run second inning in which the Yankees stroked four doubles. The Mets didn't help their cause defensively, committing four errors in the field.
"Our goal is to win series, and we've done that in the last three," Rodriguez said. "It's especially sweet in the Subway Series, to win the series, and especially against a team that's playing so well."
"It's really hard to play in October if you don't [win series], so if you want to play in October, you have to do that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We came off a good road trip and beat a team that was playing great [in] two out of three [games]."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Chasing history: Rodriguez hit the 659th home run of his big league career off Niese in the first inning, moving within one of tying Willie Mays (660) for fourth place on the home run list. Rodriguez's fifth home run of the season came on an outside curveball and cleared the wall in right-center field, traveling an estimated 378 feet into the Yankees' bullpen. More >
"Niese is a good competitor, he throws a lot of strikes," Rodriguez said. "He kept attacking me all night, he didn't back off. I just wanted to get a good pitch to hit and hit the ball hard."
Error of their ways: Two of the six runs against Niese were unearned due to a quartet of Mets errors -- one each from Wilmer Flores, Eric Campbell, Murphy and Cuddyer. Campbell later forgot how many outs there were while on first base in the sixth, leading to an easy inning-ending double play on Flores' routine flyout to right.
"In a game like this, you can't make those mistakes," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "It was just a bad night for us." More >
What a relief: Eovaldi was not pleased when the hook arrived for him after just 87 pitches, but considering the amount of loud contact off the right-hander, he couldn't be surprised. Yankees relievers did the job, firing 4 2/3 scoreless innings, beginning with Shreve inducing a double play to wriggle out of the fifth. Chris Martin recorded five outs, Justin Wilson got one and Dellin Betances set up for Andrew Miller, who pitched around a hit-by-pitch in the ninth for his seventh save in as many opportunities. More >
"The bullpen was awesome. Everybody was awesome," Eovaldi said. "Good defense kept us in the game. We were scoring runs early, and it's frustrating having to go to the bullpen so early, that I couldn't go further in the game. But the bullpen has been awesome."
A promising start: Granderson led off the game with a homer on the ninth pitch of his at-bat, and the Mets scored three more quick runs to knock Eovaldi out of the game in the fifth. But their lineup went cold in the middle innings, making their defensive errors loom even larger. The Mets didn't have a hit after Juan Lagares' single with one out in the fifth.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
There are days when Granderson surely misses calling the Bronx his home. The left-handed slugger has 67 career homers at the current Yankee Stadium since the facility opened in 2009, which is the third-highest total behind Mark Teixeira (94) and Robinson Cano (79).
"[Alex is] a great player. A great player. I know he's [almost] 40 years old now but he got himself in great shape. I'll tell you, he's still dangerous." -- Collins on Rodriguez
The Yankees successfully challenged a call in the fifth inning, as a video review showed that Gardner legged out an infield single on a ground ball to shortstop Flores. First-base umpire Adam Hamari initially ruled Gardner out on the play.
"I put my hand up right away. That's what they've asked us to do," Girardi said. "And that's always the toughest play for me to see; we run to the phone a lot on that one."
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: The Mets piled onto a bus back to Queens following Sunday's game, with a late-night flight scheduled to Miami. Monday's starting pitcher, Dillon Gee, flew ahead of the team, hoping to stay fresh for his 7:10 p.m. ET start against the Marlins.
Yankees: Right-hander Adam Warren will make his fourth start of the season on Monday as the Yankees open a three-game series with the Rays at Yankee Stadium, having swept Tampa Bay in a three-game set earlier this month. Right-hander Nate Karns draws the start for the Rays in the 7:05 p.m. ET contest.