As Brett Gardner traveled toward the outfield wall in the sixth inning, he had atonement on his mind for failing to reel in a ball in the first.
"I'm thinking it's a 1-0 ballgame and I better catch this," Gardner said. "The ball in the first inning I should have caught. I was able to make a good play on [this] one."
Gardner more than made up for the first inning as he provided the defensive play of the night, robbing Daniel Murphy of a home run in the Yankees' 2-1 loss to the Mets at Citi Field on Monday.
The 5-foot-10 outfielder's catch kept the Yankees ahead 1-0 and added to an already good night for Gardner, who scored the team's lone run.
"Best catch I've ever been on the mound for, by far," said Yankees starter pitcher Phil Hughes, who served up that long out. "That was unbelievable."
With a runner on first with two outs in the sixth, Murphy hit a deep drive to left-center. Yankees catcher Chris Stewart said he didn't think the ball was hit well enough to give the Mets the lead, but the ball kept traveling and seemed destined to land in the seats.
Gardner didn't let that happen, as he jumped and snagged the ball several inches above the home run line on the wall.
"[It] wouldn't be as difficult if I were taller," Gardner said of the catch. "You just got to hope you're able to get a good, clean jump and you want to get back there as close to the fence as possible. You don't want to run into the fence or hit the fence on the way up. I was able to time it just right."
In the first inning, Gardner soured on himself for failing to grab a hard-hit ball from David Wright that turned into a triple. Wright's drive went to right-center and Gardner thought he had the ball tracked down, but he ran out of space and it bounced off the wall. Though the play shook up Gardner a little bit, he said he's OK.
"It really just surprised me more than anything. I thought I had another step or so," Gardner said. "Thank goodness it's a part of the park where the fence is not a wall. The poles out there have some pretty good pads in front of them. I was fine."
With his amazing catch in center, and a triple in the sixth inning that led to the Yankees' lone run, Gardner almost led his team to a win in the first game of the Subway Series. Instead, a lack of production from the other bats and a bullpen implosion resulted in a Yankees loss.
"It looked for a while that Gardner was going to be the star of the game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.