It wasn't the way I thought the game would go with Javier Vazquez going up against a guy who was making his first big league start, but this one was a pitcher's duel from the start.
Vazquez was impressive again, as the Yankees took game one of the Subway Series beating the Mets 2-1. In six innings Vazquez held the Mets to just one hit and a couple walks, while striking out six. At just 69 pitches (45 strikes) through six he might have been able to go the whole way tonight, but was forced out of the game when he was hit by a foul-tip on his right index finger attempting to bunt the ball. X-rays were negative and he says he's "pretty sure" he'll make his next start. This is now the third straight impressive appearance for Javy, who may be turning things around.
While Javy was shutting down the Mets, Hisanori Takahashi was doing the same to the Yankees. He matched zeros with Vazquez and held the Yanks to just five hits and a walk over six.
The Yanks had a golden opportunity to score in the third when Francisco Cervelli walked to lead off the inning, Kevin Russo followed with a single, and Vazquez moved the runners over with a bunt. But Derek Jeter struck out, Brett Gardner grounded out, and the runners were left stranded.
An inning later a one out single by Alex Rodriguez followed by a double off the bat of Robinson Cano led to another second and third with one out situation, but once again the Yankees failed to push a run across when Nick Swisher struck out and Cervelli flied out to center.
This was all part of a game that saw the Yankees go 1-for-8 with RISP, but luckily for the Yanks, the one would be enough.
It came in the seventh with Elmer Dessens was on the mound for the Mets. Swisher started things off with a single. Then Cervelli hit a slow grounder to second, Alex Cora fielded the ball, spun, and threw the ball into left field. The runners moved up to second and third on the E4, and the Yankees had another chance with runners on 2nd and 3rd. Thanks to Kevin Russo, this time they'd get those runs in. Russo took the second pitch he saw--a 1-0 slider--and sliced it over first and into the left field corner with a two-run double. For Russo, it was his first big league extra-base hit and RBIs. The Yankees would once again leave two men on in the inning, including a Russo, who was on third with less than two out, but at least they had the lead now.
All in all, it wasn't the best game for the Yankees pen, but it was much better than some recent performances. David Robertson came in to start the seventh and gave up a lead off single to Cora, before getting Jason Bay to fly out deep to center. It was then Damaso Marte's turn against the left-handed Ike Davis. He did the job, getting Davis to hit a slow roller down the first base line, but Cervelli hit Davis in the back with the throw and everyone was safe.
Joba Chamberlain, who was one of the stars of this game, came in and struck out David Wright and Angel Pagan to end the threat. He stayed in the game for the eighth and retired the Mets 1-2-3. His command wasn't great, but the velocity on his fastball sat at 94-95 MPH, his slider was one of the better ones he's had all year, and the bottom line is that he got the job done. The inconsistency with Joba is frustrating, but hopefully we can see more of this guy and less of the guy who pitched against the Red Sox earlier this week.
The Yankees went down quickly in the top of the ninth and that set things up for Mariano Rivera to come in a slam the door. It wasn't easy for Mo, who allowed back-to-back two-out doubles to Bay and Davis to cut the lead to one, but David Wright grounded out to second and the Yankees three-game losing streak was over. Mariano goes through two bad stretches almost every year--once in the first half and then a dead arm period in September--so I guess this is 2010's first.
By the way, kudos to all the Yankees fans in Citi Field last night. There must have been at least 60% Yankees fans in the crowd, and the place sounded like a game in Yankee Stadium.
It wasn't a perfect game, but a win is a win, and the Yanks look to make it two in a row over their crosstown rivals tonight. Phil Hughes will be on the mound for the Yanks, with Mike Pelfrey, who has also started off the year very well, going for the Mets. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. and the game will be on FOX.