Russell Martin and the homer-happy New York Yankees appeared a little out of practice when it came to celebrating a game-winning homer.
Martin led off the ninth with his second homer of the game and the New York Yankees took advantage of some shoddy infield defense to beat the Mets 5-4 Sunday for a three-game sweep.
The catcher rounded third as a sold out Yankee Stadium roared and jogged toward his joyous teammates waiting at the plate. He took a big hop and fell as he landed on the plate and grabbed his leg, putting a momentary stop to the bouncing party.
”I tried to jump in the air to celebrate, and I got about 2 inches off the ground,” Martin said. ”But I still managed to touch home plate and it feels good.”
Martin’s fall might’ve given his teammates a sudden reminder of what happened to Kendrys Morales. The Los Angeles Angels star broke his leg hopping on home plate during a walk-off win in May 2010 and missed almost two seasons.
”I worried, yes,” manager Joe Girardi said. ”I saw him go down a little bit, but someone pulled him up and he walked quickly, so my worries went away.”
The homer on a full-count pitch off Jon Rauch (3-6) was the Yankees’ first walk-off homer since Sept. 8, 2010.
The Yankees took advantage of errors by David Wright and Omar Quintanilla to rally from a 3-0 deficit and take a 4-3 lead in the eighth on a single by Alex Rodriguez.
But Rafael Soriano blew his first save since he started finishing games when Mariano Rivera was lost to season-ending knee injury.
Soriano gave up a tying double in the ninth to slumping Mets first baseman Ike Davis, a defensive replacement in the eighth. He got some help keeping it tied 4-all from shortstop Jayson Nix, who threw to third to get the lead runner on a grounder by Quintanilla.
”Any play he makes that’s a heads-up play doesn’t surprise me,” Girardi said, ”because he’s been around the game and understands what he needs to do.”
Boone Logan (1-0) got two outs with runners on first and third for the win. The Yankees are 7-2 in June.
The Yankees hit eight long balls in their first Subway Series sweep of the Mets in the Bronx since 2003 – that series included a fourth, makeup game that was played at Shea Stadium as part of a two-stadium doubleheader. It was their first win in their last at-bat against the Mets since June 12, 2009, when Luis Castillo dropped Rodriguez’s potential game-ending popup, allowing two runs to score.
The Mets took a 3-0 lead against Andy Pettitte in the second inning with help from second baseman Robinson Cano’s fielding error and Jonathon Niese pitched repeatedly out of trouble for much of the day to make it stand up for seven innings.
”Definitely a tough one, the way Jon Niese threw the ball,” Wright said.
Pettitte gave the Yankees a scare in the sixth when he snared Scott Hairston’s comebacker with his bare hand and threw him out. Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue raced out to the mound and after several minutes of deliberation and a few practice pitches, Pettitte remained.
He retired the side in order then was greeted by a pat on the shoulder by Derek Jeter at the dugout.
His left hand bandaged heavily, Pettitte said he’ll be able to make his next start, which is scheduled to come after he turns 40 on June 15. X-rays of the hand were negative.
”He’s got an extra day here. So he should be OK,” Girardi said.
Girardi said Hiroki Kuroda will make his next scheduled start after he was hit on the foot by a sharp grounder Friday night.
Trailing 3-0, in the seventh, Martin hit a two-run drive off the top of the wall in right field after Wright’s throwing error extended the seventh inning. Many of the 49, 010 – the third straight sellout – paused to wait and see if the leaping Hairston caught the ball.
”That was hard to take,” Hairston said. ”Guess a lot of those things happen in this ballpark.”
Martin, who was hitting .173 entering play May 25 has four homers in his past six games and 10 RBIs. He’s raised his average to .216.
”I’m starting to feel pretty comfortable at the plate,” Martin said. ”I made a couple of adjustments and, hopefully, I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing now.”
Jeter led off the eighth with a slow hopper that went under Qunitanilla’s glove and rolled into the outfield. Jeter was given a single and he hustled into second base with a headfirst dive on the error.
Curtis Granderson then hit his second opposite field single of the game to left, off Bobby Parnell, to put runners on first and third. Mark Teixeira followed with a tying hit a day after he gave the Yankees the lead with a two-run homer.
The Mets scored more than three runs against the Yankees for the first time in 11 games and for the first time in their past five games this season, but have lost six of seven overall.
Making his 51st interleague start, matching Livan Hernandez for most all time, Pettitte raced through the top of the Mets order with only seven pitches in the first. He then needed 36 pitches in the second as the Mets scored three runs. He gave up three runs – two earned – and struck out eight in six innings.
The Yankees put the leadoff batter on against Niese five times in seven innings but came up empty until the seventh. The Yankees hit into three double plays to help quash threats.
Given an extra day of rest after leaving his most recent start with an accelerated heart rate, Niese appeared to get out of seventh inning when Andruw Jones hit a grounder to Wright. Wright spun and made the throw into the dirt.
Martin followed with his homer. His home run in the ninth was the third walk-off homer of his career.
NOTES: The Yankees reinstated pitcher Freddy Garcia from the bereavement list and sent Ryota Igarashi to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre. … Jeter has grounded into 11 double plays this season. He had 10 all last year. … Rodriguez moved past Eddie Murray for seventh on the career RBIs list with 1,918.