NEW YORK (AP) There’s certainly one New York team elated about the limit on Matt Harvey’s innings – and it’s not the first-place Mets.
Carlos Beltran, CC Sabathia and the Yankees took advantage of Harvey’s early exit Sunday night, beating the sloppy Mets 11-2 to tighten the AL East race just in time for a critical trip to Toronto.
Dustin Ackley hit a three-run homer after Beltran’s go-ahead double, and Sabathia (5-9) won for the first time since July 8 as the Yankees took two of three at Citi Field to win both Subway Series this season. The Yankees, who lead the wild-card standings, moved within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Blue Jays heading into their three-game set beginning Monday night.
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”I think you want a chance. That’s all you can ask for in this game,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
The only bad news for the Bronx Bombers: Masahiro Tanaka won’t make his scheduled start in the series because of a strained right hamstring.
Harvey looks fully healthy, but was pulled after five scoreless innings. The Mets are curbing his workload down the stretch even as they try to close out an NL East championship – and attending to both details became difficult Sunday night.
”The last thing I ever want to do, especially in a close game like that, is come out,” said Harvey, scheduled for two more (probably abbreviated) starts during the regular season. ”I’m going to be ready for my next start, whenever it is.”
The loss reduced the Mets’ lead to six games over Washington with 13 to play.
Harvey’s previous turn was skipped after he got tagged by the Nationals on Sept. 8. Pitching for the first time in 12 days, the right-hander yielded only an infield single and struck out seven.
Six relievers followed Harvey to the mound, and none were particularly effective.
”It was extremely hard to take him out there,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. ”Couldn’t have set it up any worse than it was.”
Once the Mets went to the soft part of their bullpen, the Yankees quickly erased a 1-0 deficit. Two of the Mets’ four errors helped the Yankees score five runs – four unearned – off Hansel Robles (4-3) in the sixth.
Beltran hit a two-run double, and Ackley’s drive made it 5-1.
Greg Bird added a three-run homer in a five-run eighth, long after Girardi was ejected by third base umpire John Hirschbeck for arguing a checked-swing strike.
Girardi went nose-to-nose with Hirschbeck on the field, but didn’t realize he’d been tossed until Hirschbeck asked Girardi what he was still doing in the dugout an inning later.
Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits for the Yankees.
”It’s huge for us,” Beltran said. ”They’re in first place. We’re trying to get there. It was a very meaningful ballgame.”
Harvey has thrown 176 2/3 innings in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, and agent Scott Boras has said doctors don’t want the 26-year-old ace to surpass 180 – although Harvey says he would be available for the playoffs.
”We’ll stay with the plan for right now until we see where we are at the end of the month,” Collins said.
Harvey got a normal reception in his first home start since the ruckus about his innings limit drew an avalanche of criticism early this month. After he was removed, he sat on the bench and lowered his head, nodding during a chat with Collins.
”It’s hard for me to get it, because I am, at heart, the old-school guy,” Collins said. ”But I understand where it’s coming from. Therefore, you adjust to it. Because I’ve said before, there’s a lot of things in our game today I don’t necessarily agree with. You adjust to it or get out. So I’m adjusting to it. I might get out here pretty soon, but I’m going to adjust to it right now.”
BACK IN BUSINESS
Pitching more comfortably with a brace on his arthritic right knee, Sabathia has been effective since returning from the disabled list Sept. 9. Coming off 6 2-3 scoreless innings at Tampa Bay, the lefty gave up one run and five hits in six innings with seven strikeouts. He was 0-1 in his previous nine starts, the longest winless drought of his career in one season. … Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes ended an 0-for-19 slump with a fifth-inning double.
Yankees: Tanaka got hurt running to first base after bunting Friday against the Mets. The team hopes he will miss only one turn. Struggling RHP Ivan Nova, recently removed from the rotation, will pitch in Tanaka’s place Wednesday night.
Mets: All-Star pitcher Jacob deGrom will be pushed back in the rotation this week rather than skipped entirely, Collins said. The club is concerned about deGrom’s recent slump in his first full major league season and wants to give him a breather. … 2B Juan Uribe was removed in the fifth. He bruised his chest when he saved a run with a diving stop in the third. X-rays were negative, the Mets said, but Uribe will have an MRI on Monday.
Yankees: RHP Adam Warren (6-6, 3.33 ERA) faces Blue Jays ace David Price (16-5, 2.42) on Monday night.
Mets: The next 10 games are against Atlanta, Cincinnati and Philadelphia – all currently at least 22 games under .500. LHP Jonathon Niese (8-10, 4.31 ERA) goes Monday night against Braves RHP Shelby Miller (5-15, 3.00), who is 0-14 in 22 starts since his most recent win on May 17.