R.A. Dickey regained command of his knuckleball and confounded the Yankees for six innings, Daniel Murphy homered and a youthful Mets lineup won the Subway Series opener 2-1 Friday night in front of a surprisingly lackluster New York crowd.
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Justin Turner had three hits, including a tying double off Freddy Garcia (2-4) to give him an RBI in six straight games. Jose Reyes made a run-saving play at shortstop and Francisco Rodriguez converted his 15th save in a row for the resurgent Mets (22-22), winners of 10 of 14.
Mark Teixeira homered for the Yankees, who have lost six straight at home for the first time since 2003.
K-Rod, pitching in the Mets’ fifth consecutive game, worked a 1-2-3 ninth. The bullpen put up three perfect innings in relief of Dickey (2-5), who delivered the latest strong outing after New York threw consecutive shutouts against Washington on Wednesday and Thursday.
Only about two-thirds of Yankee Stadium was full for the first inning of the 15th regular-season Subway Series opener after it rained all day – the attendance of 47,874 was about 1,000 shy of a sellout. But much was different since the last time the teams crossed the city to face off: Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died, Core Four member Andy Pettitte retired and the club has been embroiled in off-field sagas worthy of the Bronx Zoo in the late 1970s.
The Mets fired manager Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya in an offseason house cleaning, borrowed $25 million from Major League Baseball, were served with a $1 billion lawsuit by the trustee charged with recovering money in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme and are seeking a minority owner for a cash infusion. Familiar faces Johan Santana, David Wright, Ike Davis and Angel Pagan are all on the disabled list.
Dickey had not won in eight starts since his first this season on April 3 and was having trouble keeping his knuckleball down. He might have gotten a little help after his last start in Houston.
Mets manager Terry Collins said former knuckleballer Steve Sparks, a broadcaster with the Astros, noticed something in Dickey’s delivery when the team was in Houston and he mentioned it to pitching coach Dan Warthen.
However Dickey came to making the correct adjustment, his dancing pitch held the Yankees to four hits and a run.
That run would’ve been an out at spacious Citi Field. One pitch after Teixeira sent a shard of his bat flying toward second base on a foul ball, he lofted a third-inning drive that made it into the first row of seats in Yankee Stadium’s short right field – just over the glove of a leaping Carlos Beltran.
Filling in for Wright at third base, Turner sliced a run-scoring double to right in the fourth. He nearly had his 12th RBI over the six-game stretch in the sixth but his second double bounced into the stands, keeping the runner at third.
Reyes made up for two frustrating plays in the fifth with a diving stop deep behind second base and a strong throw to deny Alex Rodriguez a two-out RBI single. Reyes swung his arm in anger after Derek Jeter beat out an infield hit to deep shortstop. That play came after Brett Gardner reached leading off when first base umpire Jeff Kellogg ruled Reyes’ throw pulled Murphy off the bag for an error.
A night after benefiting from an apparent bad call at first base that aided their 1-0 victory, replays showed Murphy was on the base and Gardner should have been out.
No matter, Dickey retired Curtis Granderson on a pop to shallow right field and Teixeira struck out before Reyes’ play that made the Yankees 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position to that point. They finished 1 for 10.
Murphy led off the sixth with a liner into the right-field seats for a 2-1 lead.
Notes: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez did not have his hip examined as was planned. Manager Joe Girardi did not know when another appointment would be scheduled. … Yankees LHP Pedro Feliciano, sidelined since spring training because of a torn capsule in his shoulder, says he’ll try throwing in early June. Smiling in the clubhouse pregame, he joked about getting a chance to strike out former teammate Davis when the teams meet in July at Citi Field. Davis is in Florida rehabbing his ankle. … Wright (lower back stress fracture) had an imaging test on his back. He hopes to be back when he’s eligible to return from the DL on May 31.