The Mets put themselves in a tough position with their loss in the first game of the series on Friday night but bounced back well the last two days.
After winning behind a strong effort from Mike Pelfrey on Saturday, they took the series on Sunday night, led by the red-hot Jason Bay.
It was supposed to be a pitchers' duel on paper, but one pitcher didn't live up to the hype. C.C. Sabathia got rocked hard, as the Mets got him for six runs on 10 hits, in only five innings of work.
In the first inning, the Mets loaded the bases against Sabathia but couldn't come through as David Wright struck out and Angel Pagan blooped a ball to second to end the inning.
They did come through in the second, though. Rod Barajas led off with a double, which was followed by two strikeouts. After Jose Reyes singled Barajas to third, Alex Cora drove in two with a single. Jason Bay then hit a two-run home run over the high fence in left to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Johan Santana was brilliant through his first 6 2/3 innings. At one point he retired 13 in a row.
In the fifth inning, the Mets tacked on a couple of runs. Jason Bay led off with his second home run of the game (he had one the entire season entering the game), and after Ike Davis' second hit of the night, David Wright brought him in with a double, his 33rd RBI of the season.
In the sixth, Jason Bay, looking to become the first Met to ever homer three times in a home game, got hit on the back by Sergio Mitre. Both benches were warned, to the dismay of both managers.
After quickly retiring the first two batters in the seventh, having thrown only 68 pitches, Santana inexplicably lost the strike zone. With a potential opportunity to throw a complete game, and give the bullpen a two-day rest with tomorrow off, he walked Nick Swisher on four pitches and allowed a long RBI single to Francisco Cervelli.
On the Cervelli hit, there was a replay to decide whether or not it was a home run. Replays showed the ball hit off the orange line at the top of the fence in left field, to the left of the foul pole. The Yankees would settle for one run in the inning.
In the eighth, Santana continued to struggle. He allowed a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Marcus Thames and came out of the game after 7 2/3. It was an inexcusable way to finish a game, in which he should've at least went eight if not nine.
That meant the Mets had to tax their bullpen. In the ninth, they brought in Ryota Igarashi, making his first appearance since April 20, having suffered a hamstring injury. He struggled, giving up a walk, single, and RBI single to start the inning.
With a 6-2 lead, Jerry Manuel brought in closer Francisco Rodriguez for the final two outs. He also had a hard time of it, allowing a double to Derek Jeter, making it 6-3. After an RBI groundout of Brett Gardner and an infield hit to Mark Teixeira, he struck out Alex Rodriguez to end the game, as the Mets held on to win 6-4.
The positives are that the Mets won the series from the Yankees after losing game one. The negative, in my opinion, is the sudden hiccup of Johan Santana.
It can't be overlooked that Santana couldn't go deeper in the game and rest the bullpen. Was he hurt or was it a lack of stepping up when it counts the most? Which ever it is, it's something that shouldn't be overlooked.
The Mets will enter the series five games behind and with a lot of pitching concerns, since their top two guys were used in this series.
Next series' probable pitchers:
New York: R.A. Dickey (2010: 0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Philadelphia: Jamie Moyer (2010: 5-3, 4.30 ERA).
New York: Hisanori Takahashi (2010: 3-2, 2.53 ERA) vs. Philadelphia: Joe Blanton (2010: 1-2, 5.06 ERA).
New York: Mike Pelfrey (2010: 6-1, 2.86 ERA) vs. Philadelphia: Cole Hamels (2010: 5-2, 3.92 ERA).