Down to their last strike against Mariano Rivera, the New York Mets wouldn’t wilt. And when Jason Bay lined a game-winning single in the 10th inning, an elated Jose Reyes found himself leaping around in the clubhouse.
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All in all, that might have been the best sign of the day for the feisty Mets.
Pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino came through with a tying single off Rivera, Bay drove home the winning run and the Mets ended the New York Yankees’ seven-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory Sunday.
”I was jumping right here. I was watching right here,” Reyes said in front of his locker. ”That’s a huge win for us.”
Playing without their ailing shortstop, the Mets were shut down by Freddy Garcia for seven innings before rallying against Rivera in the ninth to avoid a Subway Series sweep at Citi Field.
With two outs and nobody on in the ninth, Bay walked on a full count. He went to third on Lucas Duda’s single and scored the tying run when Paulino punched a 1-2 pitch through the right side.
”I was just trying to put the ball in play,” Paulino said. ”Shorten my swing and get a good pitch to hit.”
Rivera, selected for his 12th All-Star team earlier in the day, dropped his head on the mound after his fourth blown save in 25 chances this season.
Ruben Tejada then hit a sharp grounder that scooted under the glove of fill-in shortstop Ramiro Pena for an error, and Duda tried to score from second. With fans of both teams in a frenzy, left fielder Brett Gardner came up throwing and cut down Duda at the plate to send the game to extra innings.
”It’s the highest high and the lowest low, probably for the fans, too. But it’s twice as bad in the dugout,” Bay said. ”That game, there was a lot going on.”
Pinch-hitter Scott Hairston drew a leadoff walk from Luis Ayala (1-2) in the 10th and the Mets loaded the bases when Pena booted Daniel Murphy’s slow grounder with two outs.
Hector Noesi entered to face Bay, who lined an 0-1 pitch into right-center for a single. Hairston raised his fist as he crossed the plate and Bay, stuck in a two-year slump since signing a $66 million contract with the Mets, was mobbed by teammates on the infield.
”I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. A lot more downs,” Bay said after the Mets stopped a three-game skid. ”It was nice, A, to be in that spot and, B, to come through. It was great.”
Francisco Rodriguez (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
”Give them credit. They battled against Mo in the ninth and got it done later,” Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said.
Gardner tripled off Jason Isringhausen in the eighth and scored on a sacrifice fly by All-Star starter Curtis Granderson, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
”It’s a frustrating loss for us,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Reyes sat out as the Mets anxiously awaited MRI results on his tight left hamstring. The test revealed a Grade 1 strain, the mildest kind, and he might be able to return to the lineup in a few days.
”It’s a big relief,” teammate Carlos Beltran said. ”We depend so much on him.”
Reyes, elected by fans to start for the National League in the All-Star game July 12, left Saturday’s loss after two innings. But the news Sunday was a positive sign for a player with a history of long-term leg injuries.
”Just a little bit of a strain. I mean, nothing big,” Reyes said. ”I know we’re going to take it one day at a time and see what happens, but it’s real good news. Today when I got up, I felt even better than yesterday. So that’s very good news.”
The Mets were hit with another injury when knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was pulled after five innings because of tightness in his left buttocks. He slipped on the wet mound while making a pitch in the fourth.
Dickey, however, said he expects to make his next start.
Rain fell much of the morning and the start was pushed back by 89 minutes, though it hardly drizzled during the delay. Girardi intercepted the umpires as they walked out onto the field and engaged them in a discussion that lasted a few minutes.
By the time Dickey was ready to go, Garcia had just begun to walk in from the bullpen. So everyone waited while Garcia crossed the outfield and Dickey took some extra warmup tosses.
After the game, Girardi said there was miscommunication about the start time after the delay.
”Freddy just didn’t have enough time,” Girardi said.
Girardi also came out for a long argument after Russell Martin was tagged out in a seventh-inning rundown.
Beltran, also selected to the NL All-Star team, doubled with two outs in the first and scored on Murphy’s single.
The Yankees tied it in the fifth. Robinson Cano led off with a double for the first hit off Dickey, and Nick Swisher followed with an RBI single.
Notes: The Yankees optioned rookie RHP Ivan Nova to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to open a spot in the rotation for RHP Phil Hughes, who will come off the disabled list to pitch Wednesday in Cleveland. RHP Lance Pendleton was recalled from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to provide a fresh arm in the bullpen. … Pena started in place of Eduardo Nunez, held out with a tight right hamstring. Nunez, subbing for injured Derek Jeter, was 7 for 8 with a homer and three doubles in the first two games of the series. … Jeter was scheduled to play his second rehab game Sunday night for Double-A Trenton, weather permitting. He is expected to rejoin the Yankees on Monday in Cleveland. … Beltran earned his sixth All-Star selection.