Gardner has another big game in Queens

For the second straight night, Brett Gardner was poised to be a hero but ended up a footnote.

Gardner led off the top of the sixth inning with a single to right field, and came around to score the first run of the game. In the bottom of that frame, he made a spectacular lunging grab of a Daniel Murphy line drive to deep left-center with the potential tying run on first base.

But it all went for naught when the New York Mets rallied in the bottom of the ninth off Mariano Rivera for a most improbable 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees at Citi Field.

Gardner made an even more impressive play in the field Monday, leaping over the wall in left-center to snatch back a home run ball -- again off the bat of Murphy.

"I don't think he's too happy with me right now," Gardner said.

But Murphy got revenge each time. On Monday, he singled home the decisive run off Yankees setup man David Robertson in the eighth inning. And on Tuesday, he started the Mets' game-winning rally off Rivera with a leadoff double, leading to a second consecutive 2-1 win.

"It's tough when you lose games that you feel like you're supposed to win," Gardner said. "And we had a real good chance last night, and an even better chance tonight. We just weren't able to get it done."

The Yankees didn't get it done here in Queens the past two days, but Gardner is certainly not to blame. Besides his two brilliant plays in the field, he also had three hits and scored both of his team's runs.

On Monday, he knocked a triple off Jonathon Niese in the top of the sixth and came around to score. On Tuesday, Gardner had two of the Yankees' six hits off Mets phenom Matt Harvey.

Gardner was impressed by Harvey, despite hitting the ball hard off him in all four of his at-bats. Besides his two singles, Gardner's two outs were line drives to center field and left field.

"He doesn't seem like a young guy at all," Gardner said. "Very mature for his age and he's got a great arm on him, and I'm sure he's gonna have a great career."

Gardner, 29, has been around for a while, making his major league debut in 2008. But he may be locking down the Yankees' center field job for the foreseeable future.

Even when Curtis Granderson returned from the disabled list two weeks ago, Gardner retained his perch in center, with Granderson being bumped to the corner spots. And when Granderson returns from his latest injury, you can expect more of the same.

Gardner is also making a solid contribution at the plate, currently batting .264 with five home runs, 20 RBIs and nine stolen bases.

About the only thing he couldn't do Tuesday was throw out Murphy, the tying run, at the plate in the ninth after David Wright's single to center.

"I didn't know if I had a shot at him or not," Gardner said. "It was just hit so weak, and I was playing opposite field, and it was on the other side of the base. I came in hard and got it and let it loose as best I could -- made sure I kept it low to try to keep the runner on first. I wasn't sure if I had a chance at him or not, but I tried it."