- Wallace Matthews, ESPNNewYork.com
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NEW YORK -- Subway Series Part 1 skidded to a halt Sunday night in the Bronx, and for the next four months or so until these teams meet again in Flushing in September, the bragging rights belong to the Yankees, who took the rubber game, 6-4, over a ragged Mets team that contributed mightily to its own demise before a sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees' four-run second inning off Mets starter Jonathon Niese turned out to be the difference, but the Mets hurt themselves with sloppy fielding and one instance of numbskulled baserunning. See you in September!
Nate the (sometimes) Great: Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi ran the gamut from hittable (a home run and RBI double in the first inning, a single and two RBI doubles in the third) to untouchable (four straight K's between the second and third innings), flashed his 98-mph fastball -- and once again, threw way too many pitches in too brief an outing. As a result, manager Joe Girardi's patience with him may be wearing thin; he came to get him after an infield single with one out in the fifth, the Yankees leading, 5-4, and Eovaldi having thrown just 87 pitches out of a 100-pitch limit. Eovaldi (4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 6 K) wasn't in long enough to earn a win, of course, and his ERA soared by more than a run to 4.15.
Watch out, Willie: Alex Rodriguez drew to within one home run of tying Willie Mays for fourth place on baseball's all-time list -- and entering into a potential legal fight with the Yankees over $6 million in bonus money -- when he belted a hanging 2-2 curveball from Niese into the right-center field seats to cut the Mets' 2-0 first-inning lead in half. It was A-Rod's fifth home run of the season and more importantly, No. 659 of his career, one shy of Mays' career total of 660, a number that is supposed to trigger a $6 million payout stipulated by a marketing contract executed between the Yankees and Rodriguez when he signed his 10-year, $275 million deal in 2007. The Yankees say they have no intention of paying the bonus because of A-Rod's suspension for performance-enhancing drug usage and he will have to sue to get his money. Stay tuned.
Triple doubles: The Yankees strung together three doubles, by John Ryan Murphy, Gregorio Petit and Brett Gardner, in the second inning to take a 3-2 lead. After an RBI single by Chris Young made it 4-2, A-Rod added a fourth double, driving in Young to make it 5-2, but was thrown out at third when Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer's errant throw got away from the cutoff man. A-Rod tried to advance but his 39-year-old legs couldn't get him there in time and he was cut down by Mets first baseman Lucas Duda.
D-Train back up to speed: Dellin Betances' temporarily dislocated fastball has been found. Betances hit 98 in striking out Lagares to open the eighth. In fact, Betances struck out the first three batters he faced -- he got Duda and Cuddyer on curveballs -- but needed to get a fourth out when his curve to Cuddyer bounced away from John Ryan Murphy, allowing Cuddyer to reach first.
Well, someone missed this place: Ex-Yankee Curtis Granderson, who hit 108 home runs in his three full seasons in pinstripes -- and just 20 in his first season as a Met, launched a 3-2 Eovaldi fastball clocked at 98 mph into the right-field seats alongside the Yankees bullpen leading off the game. It was Granderson's first home run of the season.
Ooopsie!: There was an embarrassing baserunning gaffe by the Mets' Eric Campbell in the sixth when, on Wilmer Flores' fly to shallow right, he took off sprinting from first as if there were two outs. Problem is, there was only one out, and Campbell was nearly at third base when he was easily doubled off by Carlos Beltran.
The New York Mess: The Mets committed four errors in addition to Campbell's baserunning gaffe. Third baseman Campbell had one, left fielder Cuddyer had one, second baseman Murphy had one, but the most spectacular was by shortstop Flores, who took what looked like a routine double play grounder, stepped on second and fired into the stands behind the Yankees dugout. Murphy's and Cuddeyer's errors resulted in unearned runs charged to Niese.
Up next: The Tampa Bay Rays, swept by the Yankees at home last weekend, arrive to try to return the favor over the next three games. Pitching matchups: Adam Warren (1-1, 5.40) vs. RHP Nate Karns (1-1, 5.32) on Monday (7:05 p.m., YES); RHP Chase Whitley (season debut) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (2-1, 1.65) on Tuesday (7:05 p.m., YES/MLBN) and RHP Masahiro Tanaka (2-1, 3.22) vs. LHP Drew Smyly (0-0, 3.86) on Wednesday (1:05 p.m., YES, MLBN).
The Yankees claimed New York bragging rights by winning the rubber game of the Subway Series with the Mets.