Mets ride pitching to Subway sweep

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Dillon Gee was the latest Mets starting pitcher to dominate the Yankees.For the first time in the history of the New York Mets-New York Yankees rivalry, the Mets swept the season series, winning their fourth straight game on Thursday.

Mets vs. Yankees
Last Three Seasons

It marked a significant turnaround in terms of what had happened this season up to this point.

The Yankees entered the series in first place in the AL East but ended it two games behind the Red Sox, who they'll face next. The Mets looked to be sinking, but have now won a season-high five straight games.

Here's a quick snapshot of how the sweep happened.

What went right for the Mets?

The starting pitching was outstanding.

Dillon Gee's effort in Thursday's win may have been the most impressive of the four, as he struck out a career-high 12, matching the most in any game between the two teams (Orlando Hernandez had 12 for the 2000 Yankees in the World Series).

How Gee Won
Thursday vs. Yankees

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that it's the second time a pitcher had 12 strikeouts, no walks and four or fewer hits allowed against the Yankees since the team moved from Baltimore to New York in 1903. The other pitcher was Pedro Martinez in his 17-strikeout one-hitter in 1999.

The Yankees figured to have the advantage in terms of their bullpen in this series, but the Mets' relievers did the better job, allowing one run in 7 2/3 innings of work.

The unsung hero for the Mets' bullpen was Scott Rice, who until this season was a 14-year minor league veteran. Rice retired nine of the 11 hitters he faced, five via strikeout. Yankees hitters missed on nine of the 21 swings they took against him.

Mets pitchers recorded 34 strikeouts and no walks in the last three games of the series. Elias also tells us that it's the first time in Mets history that they had that many strikeouts and no walks in a three-game span in team history.

The Mets' offense wasn't great, hitting just .221, but the hits were timely. The team was 9-for-30 with runners in scoring position, including Daniel Murphy's game-winning hit on Monday night, and the tying and winning hits against Mariano Rivera on Tuesday night.

What went wrong for the Yankees?

It wasn't just the first time Mets pitchers had 34 strikeouts and no walks in a three-game span.

Elias noted that it was the first time that Yankees hitters had a three-game stretch with that many whiffs and no walks.

Yankees hitters hit .235 for the four games (their right-handed hitters were a combined 8-for-47 with 13 strikeouts). Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells, Reid Brignac, Chris Stewart and David Adams were a combined 6-for-55.

The Yankees will be getting offensive reinforcements. Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira are both expected to be activated in time for Friday's series opener with the Boston Red Sox.