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Saturday, June 19, 2010
Takahashi Has Hold On Yanks

By Ian Begley

Hisanori Takahashi shut down the vaunted Yankees' offense again on Friday night.

Takahashi threw six shut-out innings in the Mets' 4-0 win, allowing four hits, walking two and striking out three to earn his sixth win of the season.

The Japanese lefty has thrown 12 shutout innings against the Bombers in two Subway Series starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he’s the first rookie to throw 12 straight scoreless innings since Sidney Ponson did it in 1998. Takahashi is also just the fourth rookie pitcher since 1920 to throw at least 12 straight scoreless innings against the Bombers.

Takahashi found a way out of some tough situations against the Yankees on Friday night, falling behind 2-0 on eight of the 24 hitters he faced. He also got into trouble in the sixth, allowing  back-to-back singles to Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira. Takahashi then got Alex Rodriguez to ground out to first and walked Robinson Cano before retiring Jorge Posada on a slow-roller to Wright to end the bases-loaded threat.  

"You never got the feeling he was going to flinch," manager Jerry Manuel said after Angel Pagan’s two-run eighth-inning doubled helped lift the Mets to their eighth straight win, a streak that includes seven in a row on the road.

Takahashi, 35, struggled in his two starts prior to a strong outing against Baltimore last Saturday in which he allowed one run in seven innings to earn the win.

Catcher Rod Barajas said it was just a matter of the lefty hitting his spots.

“He relies on location,” Barajas said. “His goal is to locate pitches, change speeds and mix it up. He knows that and that’s what he did.”

STRONG REHAB OUTING FOR MAINE: John Maine pitched 4 1/3 solid innings in his start for Triple-A Buffalo on Friday night, allowing one run (unearned) and one hit. The right hander walked four and struck out three.

Manuel said before Friday’s game that his plan is for Maine to make a third minor league start before the team makes a decision on the right-hander’s return to the starting rotation.

Manuel hinted that he may alter his plan if Maine felt great after Friday’s start but reiterated that “our intent was for him to have three starts.”

Takahashi’s quality outing Friday night will force the Mets to make a tough call in choosing who to demote to the bullpen to make room for Maine. Takahashi was a strong candidate for demotion after he struggled in a recent two-start stretch but has since bounced back with two strong starts, including six shutout innings against the Yankees on Friday.

K-ROD ROLLS: Francisco Rodriguez earned his 16th save, pitching the final tw0-thirds of the ninth to close out the Mets’ 4-0 win. As usual, K-Rod made things interesting. He came on with two on and one out after Raul Valdes allowed back-to-back singles to Francisco Cervelli and Curtis Granderson and walked Brett Gardner to load the bases with one out.

Rodriguez then struck out Derek Jeter and got Nick Swisher to pop out to David Wright to end it.

K-Rod warmed up late in the game but didn’t come in after the Mets scored a run in the ninth to go up, 4-0. The Mets closer then warmed up again and entered the game after Valdes got into trouble.

Rodriguez said he would have preferred to come into the game after he warmed up the first time. Manuel said that he was trying to avoid using K-Rod on Friday night because he had already used Pedro Feliciano for two innings.