NEW YORK-- Now we can say that the Mets are an elite team, and a force to be reckoned with. After winning six consecutive road games against teams that they should beat in the Orioles and Indians, the Mets not only went into Yankee Stadium and beat the Yankees for their eighth straight win and seventh on the road trip, they shut them out.
Almost everyone was predicting the Mets to lose this opening game, and that starter Hisanori Takahashi would get rocked hard. Neither of those happened, as Takahashi for the second time this season, shut the Yankees out over six innings.
The Yankees' Javier Vazquez wasn't bad at all either, but was the hard-luck loser on this night. He gave up a run in the first inning, when the Mets rallied with two outs. David Wright doubled to left and Ike Davis singled to right, scoring Wright, who just beat Francisco Cervelli's tag at the plate.
That turned out to be the game-winning run for the Mets. Vazquez didn't allow a hit in his last five innings, the third through the seventh, keeping the Yankees within one run.
Takahashi though, flirted with danger all night. None more than when he loaded the bases in the sixth, but got Jorge Posada, who hit two grand slams last weekend, to chop a ball to Wright at third. Wright rushed in and barehanded it, firing it to first, nipping Posada to end the inning.
Takahashi went a brilliant six innings, scattering four hits, walking two and striking out three. He has now pitched 12 innings against the Yankees, allowing zero runs on nine hits.
Vazquez wasn't bad himself, allowing one run on three hits, walked three and struck out four in seven innings.
The Yankees had a huge chance to tie the game in the seventh. Elmer Dessens relieved Takahashi for the Mets and allowed a leadoff double to Francisco Cervelli. Pedro Feliciano came in and stranded the runner.
After taking out Vazquez, the Yankees brought in their less-than-decent bullpen other than Mariano Rivera. Chan Ho Park walked Ruben Tejada to start the eighth, followed by allowing doubles to Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan, letting the Mets score two to extend their lead to 3-0.
Feliciano also pitched the eighth inning and did the job, going two scoreless to set it up for the Mets.
In the ninth, against Boone Logan, the Mets scored an insurance run with a Jose Reyes RBI single making it 4-0.
In the Yankees ninth, the Mets brought in lefty Raul Valdes, being it wasn't a save situation. After getting Jorge Posada to fly out to right, he allowed singles to Cervelli and Granderson, as the Mets brought in Francisco Rodriguez with the tying run on deck.
Rodriguez made it dramatic once again, walking Brett Gardner to load the bases with one out for Derek Jeter, who only had one career grand slam. Jeter struck out on a questionable check-swing call, and Nick Swisher fouled out to David Wright at third to end the game.
The Mets have finally proven that their road struggles are over. They have won all seven games on the road trip, to move to 39-28 on the season. They have won three of four against the Yankees this season, and are 19-5 since May 22, the best record in the Majors over that span.
They have won eight straight games and 12 of 13, and will go for the series win tomorrow afternoon with Mike Pelfrey (9-1) going against Phil Hughes (9-1). Their eight game winning streak is tied for the longest this season.
NL East standings (top 3 teams)
NY Mets 39-28 (1/2)
Philadelphia 35-20 (3 1/2)
Series probable pitchers:
New York Mets: Mike Pelfrey (2010: 9-1, 2.39 ERA) vs. New York Yankees: Phil Hughes (2010: 9-1, 3.11 ERA)
New York Mets: Johan Santana (2010: 5-3, 3.13 ERA) vs. New York Yankees: CC Sabathia (2010: 7-3, 4.00 ERA)
New York Mets:
June 19-20 @ New York Yankees
June 22-24 vs. Detroit Tigers
New York Yankes:
June 19-20 vs. New York Mets
June 21-23 @ Arizona Diamondbacks