Mets 8, Yankees 3
Steve Trachsel won his fifth straight start and the Mets roughed up Johnson for the second time this year, snapping their four-game slide with an 8-3 victory over the Yankees on Saturday.
“You have to make sure that four-game losing streak doesn’t become a five— and you don’t get complacent with the lead that we have,” David Wright said.
Paul Lo Duca had three hits and two RBIs for the Mets, held to one hit by five Yankees pitchers in a 2-0 defeat Friday. Wright got them going with a two-run double in the first inning, and No. 9 batter Eli Marrero capped the outburst with a homer off Johnson in the sixth.
Ramon Castro’s two-run single keyed a five-run fourth for the NL East leaders, who scored just eight runs during their losing streak yet still began the day with a 10 1/2 -game cushion in the division. Leadoff batter Jose Reyes got two hits and scored twice.
“When he goes, the rest of the team goes,” Wright said. “He provides so much momentum.”
The Mets, who stacked their lineup with nine right-handed batters against Johnson, hadn’t dropped three in a row all season before getting swept in Boston this week.
“They can beat you in a lot of different ways,” Derek Jeter said.
Alex Rodriguez knocked in two runs for the Yankees and hit his 17th homer in the eighth, making it 8-3.
Coming off three consecutive strong starts, Johnson (9-7) was ineffective in this one. He gave up eight runs and eight hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking three. The Big Unit fell to 0-1 with an 11.45 ERA in two Subway Series starts against the Mets this season.
“I felt like my stuff was there. I know I pitched bad and I know I gave up eight runs, but I felt better than what the linescore indicates,” Johnson said. “I was pleased with my velocity and, for the most part, feeling good out there. I’m not searching for anything that I had been early in the year.”
Trachsel (7-4) pitched out of trouble early, allowing two runs, seven hits— all singles—and four walks in six-plus innings. He is unbeaten in eight outings since a 1-0 loss in St. Louis on May 17.
The right-hander departed with tightness in his right groin after reaching high for Miguel Cairo’s infield single leading off the seventh and stumbling awkwardly on the mound. He is day to day.
“It’s been tight for a couple of weeks, but it never really bothered me walking or pitching or anything. But today, I felt it jumping. I don’t know exactly why. It’ll be OK,” Trachsel said.
After managing only one hit Friday night, the Mets doubled that total after two batters Saturday. Lo Duca’s double put runners at second and third before Wright, who struck out all three times up the previous night, hit a two-run double with one out.
“You want to stop the bleeding, the avalanche, whatever you want to call it. It’s basically just getting a win,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “Our attitude on the bench and in the clubhouse has been pretty consistent. We don’t even feel like we’re struggling. If you came in today, you wouldn’t even know we had lost last night.”
The Yankees loaded the bases with none out in the third, and Rodriguez lined an RBI single on an 0-2 pitch from Trachsel. But he got Jorge Posada to ground into a run-scoring double play and settled in from there.
“In the early innings I was fighting to get a grip. The curveball was all over the place. But by the fifth inning, I had control of my stuff,” Trachsel said.
The Mets got a bad break in the fourth, but still put together a big inning. Johnson’s 1-2 delivery hit Xavier Nady around the ankle, which should have loaded the bases with none out. But plate umpire Gerry Davis didn’t see it and called the pitch a ball. Nady then struck out.
Still, Chris Woodward drew a walk, and Castro’s two-run single put the Mets in front. Reyes added an RBI single with two outs and Lo Duca followed with a two-run single, making it 7-2.
Johnson has allowed 16 homers in 18 starts.
“When he got hurt he was behind in the count,” Posada said. “He’s our No. 1 guy. We need him to feel comfortable and do the things he’s capable of doing.”
Johnson’s first two pitches in the second were lined right back at him for outs, one hit by Woodward and the other by Castro. … Mets 1B Carlos Delgado sat out for the third consecutive game with an ailing ribcage. … Trachsel and Yankees slugger Jason Giambi were teammates at Long Beach State in 1991 on a team that went to the College World Series. … Lo Duca was the DH again because of a bruised left thumb.