Yanks’ Colon pitches 6 shutout innings
Eduardo Nunez is on such a roll in the Subway Series that the New York Yankees hardly miss Derek Jeter.
On the other side at Citi Field, the Mets looked lifeless without Jose Reyes.
Nunez homered in his latest big game at the plate and Bartolo Colon came off the disabled list to pitch six shutout innings, leading the Yankees past the Mets 5-2 on Saturday for their season-best seventh consecutive victory.
”You’ve got to feel good with where we are right now,” Mark Teixeira said.
Subbing at shortstop for the injured Jeter, Nunez is 7 for 8 with a homer and three doubles in the first two games of the weekend series. But his time in the spotlight appears to be running out.
Jeter went 1 for 2 with a walk in his first rehab game with Double-A Trenton on Saturday night and is expected to rejoin the Yankees on Monday in Cleveland.
”I feel great right now. I feel better when I play every day,” Nunez said. ”But we can make adjustments. When Jeter is coming back, I have to make adjustments.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he will continue to try to get Nunez steady at-bats by resting his infielders regularly, especially with hot weather on the way.
The Yankees are 14-3 since the 37-year-old Jeter, stuck in a season-long slump, went on the disabled list with a strained right calf. Nunez, 24, has started all 17 of those games, batting .339 with two homers, five doubles and seven RBIs.
Girardi chuckled when asked if his team is better with Nunez or Jeter starting at shortstop.
”Nuni has played well, but Derek’s our shortstop. I mean, he’s been the shortstop for a long, long time and has been a great player and he’s still a great player,” Girardi said. ”We’re looking forward to getting him back. My hope is these next two days go well and we get him back and get him rolling like he can. But Derek is the guy that has always been there for us and he’ll continue to be there for us.”
Reyes left after two innings with tightness in his left hamstring, taking the starch out of the suddenly slumping Mets. After setting a club record by scoring 52 runs in a four-game stretch, they have managed only five while losing their past three.
Leading the majors in hitting, Reyes was scheduled for an MRI on Sunday morning and it appears likely he will miss the series finale.
”It’s not too much pain. I feel it a little bit,” Reyes said. ”I didn’t want to blow my hamstring again because I’ve been through a lot with that.”
Held scoreless for the first five innings, the Yankees touched up rookie Dillon Gee (8-2) with four straight sharp hits in a four-run sixth before a Citi Field-record crowd of 42,042.
Curtis Granderson lifted a 1-2 pitch to right for his 22nd home run before Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez singled. Robinson Cano ripped a two-run triple into the right-field corner, cracking a wide smile as he stood on third, and Nick Swisher followed with a sacrifice fly.
Nunez added a solo homer off Tim Byrdak in the ninth to make it 5-0. Nunez also had a pair of doubles after going 4 for 4 with an RBI in Friday night’s 5-1 victory.
The only time the Mets retired him it took a spectacular, diving catch by second baseman Justin Turner.
”Should have been 8 for 8. And if that catch isn’t made, that might have been a triple,” Teixeira said. ”This is an impressive two days for him in his first starts in the Subway Series.”
The sixth-inning outburst provided more than enough support for the 38-year-old Colon (6-3), who picked up right where he left off in his first start since June 11. The husky right-hander strained his left hamstring in a 4-0 victory over Cleveland while covering first base on a groundout.
Colon was on his game from the outset in this one, setting down 13 in a row after Reyes reached on an infield single to start the first.
Throwing 95 mph fastballs with his revitalized arm, the 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner struck out six and walked none. He gave up five hits, four singles, and clapped his pitching hand into his glove after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fifth when Gee bounced into a double play.
”I feel really good,” Colon said through a translator. ”That happened to me before when I went to the DL. So every time I come back, I pitch the same way.”
Colon is 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his last four starts, holding his opponent scoreless three times.
”He’s kind of surprised us all year long in a sense,” Girardi said. ”We weren’t sure what we were going to get out of him in spring training and he just continued to pitch well, and that’s what he did today.”
Cory Wade tossed two scoreless innings and Sergio Mitre gave up RBI groundouts to Jason Bay and Lucas Duda in the ninth.
Reyes felt tightness in his hamstring while beating out his infield single in the first and the Mets said he was removed as a precaution in the top of the third.
”I’m concerned about it, obviously. You sensed it not only in the dugout, you sensed it in the stands. The air came out of the bubble,” manager Terry Collins said. ”Right now, we’ll wait until tomorrow to see what it is and then we’ll reassess what we’re going to do to replace him. I’m sure once we hear from the doctor what’s going to go on, we’ll make some decisions.”
Reyes has been one of baseball’s best players this season. He began the day leading the majors with a .352 batting average, 123 hits and 15 triples. He also led the NL with 65 runs scored. The speedy switch-hitter can become a free agent after the World Series.
Reyes has a history of leg injuries that limited the leadoff man to 53 games in 2004 and 36 games in 2009, but he said this is the first problem he’s had with his left hamstring.
”Every time I injure my leg, I have to be worried because it’s my leg. Legs are a big part of my game,” Reyes said. ”Hopefully, the MRI will show no damage tomorrow and I’ll be fine in a couple of days.”
NOTES: Yankees RHP Carlos Silva was released at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. … The Yankees are 24-4 in day games, the best record in the majors. … Ruben Tejada replaced Reyes at shortstop.