After Friday’s night crushing loss, it would have been only natural for the Mets to come out flat for today’s game with the Yankees. But instead it was the home team that looked flat. Former Yankees’ farm hand Omir Santos and former Yankees’ major leaguer Gary Sheffield both played big roles in the Mets 6-2 win over the Yankees this afternoon.
Less than 24 hours after Mets second baseman Luis Castillo dropped the ball heard round the Bronx, the Mets got an unexpected starting performance from Fernando Nieve and jumped all over Yankees starter Andy Pettitte.
Nieve had made only 52 big league appearances since debuting with the Houston Astros back in 2006. But with John Maine on the DL, the Mets needed someone to step up and Nieve did just that.
The 26-yr old limited the Yankees to 4 hits over 6.2 innings for his 4th big league win. His battery mate, Santos, gave his teammate a quick lead to work with when he went deep with a man aboard in the 2nd.
The 28-yr old catcher had been a career minor leaguer (He appeared in 10 games for the Baltimore Orioles last season), before he took advantage of injuries to the Mets catching corp this spring. He nearly added a second home run, but settled for an RBI double that capped the Mets’ 3-run 5th inning.
Pettitte was done after five innings and continued his struggles of late. Though he’s 3-2 in his last six starts, Pettitte has allowed 20 earned runs in his last 34.2 innings (5.19 ERA), and hasn’t pitched past the 5th inning in three of them.
Sheffield, who many thought were done when he was released by the Detroit Tigers this spring, continued his recent resurgence. He homered off Brett Tomko Friday night and went yard on Al Aceves this afternoon. He also contributed an RBI single off of Pettitte, despite a balky knee that has him set for an MRI shortly.
The Yankees couldn’t muster much of anything against Nieve. Alex Rodriguez hit a solo shot to left that cut the Mets lead to 2-1 in the 2nd, but were held scoreless other than a Derek Jeter RBI single in the 7th.
Even though it was a non-save situation, Mets manager Jerry Manuel wasn’t taking any chances and sent for Francisco Rodriguez to pitch the 9th. He retired the side without incident and the Mets had themselves a split of the first two games of the Subway Series.
A-Rod’s home run was his 562nd, putting him one behind Reggie Jackson for 11th place on the all-time list. He was also hit again, this time on the left elbow by a Nieve pitch, and is clearly getting tired of it.
Nieve’s victory was his first since June 25, 2006 when the Astros beat the White Sox in interleague play.