By Art Stevens
The New York Mets, with the benefit of their fifth straight quality start — this one from left-hander Jonathon Niese — took advantage of a five-run uprising in the first inning against Yankee veteran pitcher Andy Pettitte then held on to gain a 6-4 win over the Yankees in the first of three in the New York Subway Series.
In the first inning, following a 53-minute rain delay, the Mets took advantage of two Pettitte walks. Justin Turner came up with the bases loaded and two out, which was a tremendous turning point in the game, and hit a solid, line drive single to right-center to score two runs. That brought up Ike Davis. He promptly hit a long drive to the top of the wall in right field. Yankee right fielder Nick Swisher jumped at the wall; got his glove on it, but the ball came off the glove and fell into the stands for a three run home run, and a 5-0 Met lead.
Niese did not allow a run until Alex Rodriguez hit a long home run to center field in the sixth inning. Andruw Jones also hit a home run leading off in the seventh inning, and that was all for Niese. Bobby Parnell came in and put down the Yankees without further damage.
The real drama came in the Yankee ninth. Frank Francisco, the Met closer, had made some silly remarks, calling the Yankees ‘chicken’ in a story that was printed in the New York Post on Friday, and was complete with a Post cartoon of Yankee captain Derek Jeter with Jeter’s head on the body of a chicken. Would you say that he had caused the ideal feeling he wanted from the Yankees when he came in to his ‘save’ situation in the ninth? I think not.
Well, he got into all kinds of trouble in the ninth inning and had the potential winning run at bat, but he held on, getting Mark Teixeira on a fly ball to center for the last out. The Mets won, and moved to two and a half games behind the league leading Washington Nationals in the National League East.