Mets 2, Yankees 0
NEW YORK (AP)—Just the sight of the New York Yankees energized the Mets.
Oliver Perez outdueled Roger Clemens, Jose Reyes was 3-for-3 with three steals, two RBIs and a home run, and Carlos Gomez leapt to prevent a three-run homer. The Mets won the opener of the season’s second Subway Series 2-0 Friday, stopping their five-game losing streak and their rival’s nine-game winning streak.
Perez (7-5), a flamboyant lefty known for high-jumping foul lines, allowed five hits in 7 1-3 innings to beat the Yankees for the second time this season. He struck out six and walked three, combining three relievers on a five-hitter.
“He pitched a big game for us in a huge situation,” said Mets closer Billy Wagner, who pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances.
The NL East-leading Mets staggered to the Bronx with nine losses in their previous 10 games, including five straight, while the Yankees were on their longest winning streak in two years. But before a pumped up crowd of 55,159, the Mets (37-28) beat the Yankees (33-32) for the third time in four meetings this year.
“They can motor. Those two guys are fast,” Clemens said, marveling at Reyes and Gomez.
Reyes tied his career best for steals and leads the major leagues with 35. Torre turned to bench coach Don Mattingly in the dugout and compared the pair with Maury Wills and Lou Brock.
“Any time those guys get on base, they’re going to cause havoc,” he said.
The Mets avoided what would have been their losing streak since 2005. The Yankees were on their longest winning streak in two years. When the Mets took two of three at Shea Stadium from May 18-20, the Yankees were swooning on their way to a 21-29 start.
“It’s just about the opposite—a 180 for both teams,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
Making his second start, Clemens (1-1) reached 92 mph with his fastball but was around 89 mph most of the time, a little more velocity than the seven-time Cy Young Award winner showed in Saturday’s 9-3 victory over Pittsburgh. The 44-year-old allowed two runs, seven hits and one walk in 6 1-3 inning. With eight strikeouts, he retook second place on the career list with 4,619, five more than Arizona’s Randy Johnson.
“I still feel I need to be better,” Clemens said.
Reyes hit an RBI single on a splitter in the third and homered in the fifth on a hanging curveball. The Mets had five stolen bases in seven attempts against Jorge Posada.
“It’s nice to have some speed because we put a lot of pressure on the other team,” Reyes said.
Gomez, another of the Mets’ young speedsters, made a spectacular play in left field to rob Miguel Cairo of a home run in the fourth inning.
“I’m wondering where that fan is that leans over and catches balls,” Clemens said. “We need one of them young fans again.”
Clemens, who threw 108 pitches, needs one win to become the first major leaguer to reach 350 since Warren Spahn in September 1963. He dropped to 3-6 in the regular season against the Mets—that doesn’t include his famous World Series win in 2000, when he threw a piece of Mike Piazza’s broken bat in front of the hitter.
“I thought his stuff was better,” Torre said. “I thought he was able to command it pretty well.”
Speed helped the Mets break on top in the third, when Gomez bunted for a single, stole second and scored when Reyes singled to center. Reyes doubled the lead in the fifth when he homered off the facing of the upper deck in right for his third home run of the season, his first since April 21. He was 0-for-6 against Clemens coming in, making the homer off the Rocket especially fulfilling.
“That, I’ll never forget,” Reyes said.
Gomez made the play of the night in the fourth, when Cairo batted with two on and one out and hit a fly ball near the left-field corner. Just a few feet fair of the 318-foot sign, Gomez ran to the wall, jumped and grabbed the ball above the wall near the outstretched arms of a fan. He then threw to second, easily doubling up Hideki Matsui.
“When it was hit, I said: Oh, my God, it’s out of here,” Gomez said. “But then I saw the fence. It hits the fence probably.”
That started a string of 13 straight outs for Perez, a streak that ended when Derek Jeter doubled with one out in the eighth. Pedro Feliciano retired Bobby Abreu on a flyout to deep center, with Jeter crossing to third, and Joe Smith got Alex Rodriguez to ground out.
Perez also escaped trouble in the second, when he struck out Melky Cabrera with two outs and the bases loaded. Perez dropped the Yankees to 7-10 this year against left-handed starters.
“We ran into a buzz saw,” Torre said. “The most important is that we won’t see him again.”
Julio Franco (48) was 0-for-3 against Clemens. They became the oldest batter-pitcher matchup in the major leagues since Nick Altrock (57) of the Washington Senators hit a comebacker off the Philadelphia Athletics’ Rube Walberg (37) in the 11th inning on Oct. 1, 1933, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Clemens and Franco totaled 93 years, 246 days, while Altrock and Walberg added to 94 years, 80 days. … Carlos Delgado was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and is in a 4-for-28 slide. … Franco and Delgado took called third strikes ending the fourth and fifth innings and argued with plate umpire Mark Wegner. … The Mets moved Carlos Beltran to No. 2 in the batting order for the second time this season. … The Mets have scored first in seven straight games.
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