For only the second time since the annual Subway Series began in 1997, the Mets were swept in the Bronx portion. Russell Martin's second homer of the game, in the bottom of the ninth against Jon Rauch, lifted the Yankees to a 5-4 win Sunday afternoon at the Stadium.
The Mets now have an off-day in Tampa to regroup, with many players heading to Busch Gardens with their families. The Amazin's then open a three-game series Tuesday at the Trop against the AL East-leading Rays.
Chris Young (0-0, 3.60 ERA) opposes right-hander Alex Cobb (2-2, 4.12) in the opener. On Wednesday, R.A. Dickey (9-1, 2.44) takes a 24 2/3-inning scoreless streak into a matchup with left-hander David Price (8-3, 2.40). Dickey is within seven innings of matching Jerry Koosman's franchise record, which was set in 1973. Johan Santana (3-3, 2.96), pitching with one extra day of rest this time, like the rest of the staff, tries to bounce back from a four-homer barrage in the Bronx when he opposes right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (4-2, 2.65) in the 1:10 p.m. series finale Thursday.
Monday's news reports:
• David Wright and Omar Quintanilla each committed errors to open the door for a late-inning comeback by the Yankees from a three-run deficit. After the Mets fell behind, 4-3, Lucas Duda and Ike Davis did deliver back-to-back doubles in the ninth against Rafael Soriano to pull the Mets even. But a half-inning later Martin ended the game with the shot off Rauch on a hanging slider. Read game recaps in the Post, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and Daily News.
• Columnist David Lennon in Newsday wonders if the Mets' ship is starting to sink. Writes Lennon:
Here's another thing the Mets should be feeling right around now: worried. We'll hold off on panic for the time being, but it's getting close, with three games against the Rays at Tropicana Field coming up starting Tuesday. Next is the Reds at Citi Field , followed by the Orioles and a Flushing rematch with the Yankees. For what it's worth, the Mets also dropped to 4 1/2 games behind the surging Nationals -- the Mets' largest NL East deficit of the season. More troubling, however, is the team's flawed roster. Already on their fourth shortstop, the Mets are struggling to find consistent power sources besides Wright, and the bullpen -- with 13 blown saves -- isn't inspiring much confidence. All of those problems were on display.
Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post agrees. Writes Davidoff:
We’re not here to talk about heart or grit or resiliency, because the Mets are plenty good at that stuff, starting with their manager. We’re here to talk about the stark reality of a 162-game season. This simply is not a very talented club, especially relative to the competitive NL East. The Mets have scored 262 runs and allowed 281 runs, and that produces a winning record only with the help of some good breaks and unsustainable performances.
Writes columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News:
As the Mets’ manager had to concede, his team had no one to blame but itself for Sunday’s loss. For one, the Mets failed to build on the three-run lead the lineup of scrubs put up against Andy Pettitte in the second inning, and then it was their mistakes in the field that allowed the Yankees, who had previously sputtered a few times in scoring opportunities against Niese, to get back in the game in the seventh and then briefly go ahead in the eighth.
• Terry Collins hopes Davis' ninth-inning double, which came a half-inning after entering at first base as a defensive replacement for Vinny Rottino, is another sign Davis is emerging from his season-long funk. That better be the case, for Davis' sake. Otherwise, when the Mets return to NL play Friday against the Reds at Citi Field, Collins may feel compelled to use Lucas Duda at first base. Read more on Davis in Newsday, the Star-Ledger, Times and Record.
• Rauch, testy after the game, said the elbow issue that caused him to miss the Nats series was a non-factor in surrendering the game-ending long ball. Read more on the reliever's postgame reaction to surrendering the homer in the Post, Record and Daily News.
• Jenrry Mejia, after an unofficial rehab tour as a starter in the minors, will shift to bullpen work once he has enough days off following a start Saturday for Triple-A Buffalo, Bisons manager Wally Backman said. Mejia likely will need a couple of weeks in that role in the minors before contributing at the major league level in a relief capacity. Mejia missed most of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2011.
• Justin Hampson, Manny Acosta and Fernando Cabrera combined for 4 1/3 scoreless relief innings as Buffalo beat Miguel Tejada and the Norfolk Tides, 4-2. Read Sunday's full minor league recap here.
• The Mets are selling game-used items from Santana's no-hitter, in addition to reprinted tickets. Read more in Newsday.
• Frankie Vanderka tossed a complete-game three-hitter to stymie LSU as Stony Brook reached the College World Series for the first time in the program's history.
TRIVIA: Who were the other two players involved in the July 30, 2004 trade that sent Scott Kazmir to Tampa Bay for Victor Zambrano?
Sunday's answer: Quintanilla played college baseball at the University of Texas. He was the 33rd overall pick in 2003 by the Oakland A's.