Yankees 7, Mets 1, 1st game; Yankees 9, Mets 8, 2nd game
NEW YORK (AP)—Roger Clemens shut down the New York Mets and again showed why he’s one of the game’s greatest pitchers. A few hours and a bus ride later, Brandon Claussen gave the New York Yankees a promising glimpse into their future.
Claussen allowed two runs—one earned—and pitched into the seventh inning in his major league debut, and Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter led off with consecutive homers as the Yankees held off the Mets 9-8 Saturday night for a sweep of their two-ballpark, day-night doubleheader.
“I tried to block everything out, but yeah, sure I was excited,” said Claussen, who had “Tommy John” surgery on his left elbow last season. “I really don’t know what to say. Every expectation I had has been exceeded. I feel great.”
In the first game at Yankee Stadium, Clemens earned his 301st victory, and Hideki Matsui hit a grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs in the Yankees’ 7-1 win.
The Yankees built a 9-0 lead in the nightcap at Shea Stadium, only to see the Mets nearly come all the way back. Raul Gonzalez’s three-run double off Mariano Rivera in the eighth cut it to 9-8, but Gonzalez got caught in a rundown between second and third and was thrown out.
That ended the Mets’ best chance. Rivera struck out Ty Wigginton to get out of the inning and finished for his 13th save in 14 chances, giving the Yankees their sixth straight win.
The Yankees have won all five games against the Mets this year and go for a season sweep Sunday.
“If we had beaten them 9-0, I would be more confident that we would sweep them,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “They reached down tonight and gave us a run.”
With three wins at Shea Stadium in 2003, the Yankees completed the first Subway Series sweep by either team since interleague play began in 1997.
The Mets have been swept in four doubleheaders this season.
“This series epitomizes what our season is about,” Game 2 starter Tom Glavine said. “Aside from this afternoon’s game, we’ve had a chance to win every game.”
Claussen, considered the Yankees’ top pitching prospect, was animated at times but seemed in control throughout—he even drove in a run with his first career hit.
“He pitched out there like a seasoned pro,” Torre said.
Claussen allowed eight hits, struck out five and walked one in 6 1-3 innings.
“It was great,” Claussen said. “I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m just so thankful for this.”
But he had to sweat out the last few innings as the Yankees bullpen nearly gave away his win.
Roberto Alomar hit a pinch-hit sacrifice fly, and Gonzalez, recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the second game, sent a drive into the right-center gap to make it 9-8.
“I was really proud of the way we hung in,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “I mean, we spotted them nine runs and came back and gave ourselves a chance.”
Following the first game, the teams bused over to Shea in less than a half-hour—with police escorts—to play the nightcap in just the second two-park doubleheader in the majors since 1903. On July 8, 2000, the Mets and Yankees opened at Shea and finished in the Bronx, both 4-2 Yankees wins.
Matsui went 4-for-4 with an RBI in the second game, and 6-for-7 with six RBIs in the two games.
“Certainly I’ve had that kind of stretch in the past, but going like this— it definitely feels good,” Matsui said through an interpreter.
The Mets have lost four in a row overall, and eight of their last nine.
Soriano and Jeter got things started quickly with consecutive homers off Glavine. It was the second time this season the Yankees accomplished the feat— and fourth time ever.
In the fourth, John Flaherty drove in a run with a bunt single.
The Yankees chased Glavine (5-8) in the next inning, scoring five times. The left-hander allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings, and was booed heartily by the crowd of 36,372.
“I’m not going to say I pitched a mistake-free ballgame, but it’s better than what the linescore will show,” Glavine said.
Giambi hit his 21st homer in the sixth off Dan Wheeler to make it 9-0.
Claussen’s debut was drastically better than the Mets’ Jeremy Griffiths in Game 1.
Griffiths (0-1) allowed five runs—including Matsui’s grand slam—and seven hits in three-plus innings. Matsui, who leads major league rookies with 60 RBIs, homered in the third and sent the 55,343 fans at Yankee Stadium into a cheering frenzy.
“Today, their guy got into trouble and Matsui made them pay,” Clemens said.
Clemens (8-5) allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked one in eight innings, his first victory since winning his 300th game on June 13. He moved past Hall of Famers Lefty Grove and Early Wynn for sole possession of 19th place on the career wins list.
Jeromy Burnitz homered in the fifth for the Mets’ only run.
Matsui has reached safely in his last nine plate appearances. … The Yankees improved to 23-12 in regular-season games against the Mets. … Before the second game, the Mets optioned outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo to Triple-A Norfolk and recalled Gonzalez. … The Yankees optioned right-handed reliever Jason Anderson, who pitched a perfect inning in the opener, to Triple-AColumbus before the second game to make room for Claussen.