You couldn't have asked for a better night of baseball on Friday night for New Yorkers.
It was a sunny, Friday night with nice, clear weather and for the first time in a while, the atmosphere between the Yankees and the Mets had a competitive feel to it.
Both teams were within striking distance of being in first place in their respective divisions, so while most of the game's outcome was for bragging rights for the fans, the Yankees and Mets were playing for a chance to move up.
On the mound for the Yankees was Hiroki Kuroda while on the mound for the Mets was Johan Santana, one week removed from throwing the Mets first ever no-hitter in team history against the Cardinals.
Early on, both pitchers looked very sharp, breezing through the first inning.
Then in the second inning, the Yankees struck first blood, as Robinson Cano crushed a two-run home run to the outfield seats in right field that put the Bombers ahead 2-0.
While Kuroda continued to shut down the Mets, Santana couldn't keep the Yankees offense down, as Cano connected on another Santana delivery, this time to the second deck of right field, another two-run shot that put the Yankees ahead 4-0.
The next batter, Nick Swisher, crushed a Santana pitch into the left field seats and made it 5-0.
Santana was looking far from the pitcher that was on the mound just seven days ago.
Right after Swisher came Andruw Jones, who smashed a pitch to the second deck of left field and put the Yankees ahead 6-0 in the third inning.
Cano, Swisher and Jones went back-to-back-to-back off a premier pitcher in Santana, who clearly did not have his best stuff against the Yankees.
Santana lasted just five innings, allowing six runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out five, but also served up four home runs in three innings.
Kuroda continued to dominate the Mets lineup, mowing down the younger hitters. Kuroda got through 5,2 innings without allowing a hit and some even wondered if Kuroda could duplicate the magic of a week ago from Queens.
The bid for a no-hitter wasn't meant to be as Omar Quintanilla broke up the no-hitter with a double to left-field, the only hit Kuroda would allow all game.
Kuroda pitched through seven innings and could have kept going, but was struck on the heel of his foot off a line-drive by Daniel Murphy, which ended up being the final out of the seventh inning anyway.
Later on, it was announced during the game that Kuroda only suffered from a foot contusion and no serious damage was done on the line-drive to the foot.
Kuroda went seven innings, allowed no runs on one hit, walked one and struck out seven. To put it simply, Kuroda was fantastic against the Mets and simply overpowered them.
Kuroda didn't look like a 37-year old with his command and velocity; he pitched more like a 27-year old pumping his fastball by the Mets hitters while throwing in his breaking stuff that they couldn't touch.
In the seventh, a sac fly by Alex Rodriguez made it 7-0, a ground-rule double by Swisher made it 8-0 and an RBI single by Derek Jeter made it 9-0.
All the Mets mustered up was an RBI double from Lucas Duda that made it 9-1 off recently called up Ryota Igrarashi, but that was all as the Bombers prevailed in the first game 9-1.
With the win, Kuroda improves to 5-6 while Santana took the loss and dropped to 3-3.
That's three consecutive starts in a row that Kuroda has been excellent for the Yankees and if he can continue to pitch like this, it will only benefit the Yankees going forward.
The offense came to life on Friday night and Cano redeemed himself with the two monstrous home runs after striking out four times against the Rays the night before.
With the win, the Yankees are still a half game out of first place in the A.L. East, but now they have sole possession of second place right behind the Rays.
The Mets remain in third place and are now two and a half games out of first place in the N.L. East.
The Yankees and Mets will play again in the second game of the series at 7:05, a game that will air on national TV on FOX.
Phil Hughes will pitch for the Yankees, while the Mets will counter with Dillon Gee.
Less than 24 hours and both teams will be back at it for the second round of the Bronx version of the Subway Series.
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