WHAT IT MEANS: Since exploding for a franchise-record 52 runs in a four-game stretch, the Mets have mustered a combined three runs in a pair of losses. The Amazin’s slipped back to .500 with Friday’s Subway Series defeat before a Citi Field-record crowd of 42,020.
ON A CURVE: Jon Niese surrendered consecutive hits to Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira to open the game -- Teixeira’s an opposite-field two-run double to right field. Robinson Cano capped the three-run first inning with an RBI double.
Niese then held the Yankees off the scoreboard through the sixth, recording several strikeouts looking with big-breaking curveballs. That included pinch-hitter Jorge Posada looking with the bases loaded for the second out of the sixth. Niese then escaped that jam when he retired Swisher on a groundball to Justin Turner at third base.
The Yankees actually should have scored earlier in the sixth. Preceding Posada’s at-bat, Eduardo Nunez blooped a single narrowly over Jose Reyes and into the shallow outfield. However, a confused Cano held at third base, where he began the play.
Niese was making his first start since a rapid heartbeat on the mound at Texas last Saturday prompted a battery of exams at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit on Tuesday. His final line: 6 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. Niese threw 101 pitches (69 strikes).
CLOSE CALL: Hours after Alex Rodriguez called Reyes the “world’s greatest player,” they were involved in a critical seventh-inning play at third base. Reyes tagged to second on Turner’s deep fly ball to center, and advanced toward third when the shortstop Nunez had the relay throw bounce away from him. Reyes eventually was ruled out at third by plate umpire Jerry Layne, who had to cover on the ump rotation. However, A-Rod appeared to have missed the tag. Reyes, then third base coach Chip Hale and Terry Collins argued.
Collins was ejected for the second time this season. He also was tossed April 21 against Houston.
GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY: Ivan Nova struck out Angel Pagan with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning as the Mets’ remained in a 3-1 hole.
E-3: Daniel Murphy failed to catch a throw from Reyes to open the eighth on Russell Martin’s grounder. Martin then scored to give the Yankees a three-run cushion on Nunez’s career-high fourth hit of the game.
ON A ROLL: Martin slid hard and late into Ruben Tejada at second base while attempting to prevent a double play in the sixth. Tejada produced the Mets’ lone run, on a second-inning RBI single.
K-ROD TRACKER: Francisco Rodriguez did not appear and remained at 30 games finished. He is on pace for 59 games finished, four more than the threshold for his contract to kick in at $17.5 million for 2012.
WHAT’S NEXT: Dillon Gee (8-1, 3.32) opposes Yankees right-hander Bartolo Colon (5-3, 3.10), who comes off the disabled list for the start. First pitch: 4:10 p.m.