Bronx, NY—Yankee Stadium was sold out for the opening game of the 2012 Subway Series. Many of the 48,566 in the stands came with the expectation of seeing Mets starter Johan Santana tie the 74 year-old mark of Johnny Vandermeer by pitching his second consecutive no-hitter. This did not happen, but the fans did get to see Yanks starter Hiroki Kuroda limit the Mets to one-hit in his seven innings on the mound.
Santana retired the first three batters he faced, but ran into trouble in the second, After walking Alex Rodriguez, who led off, Robinson Cano followed by hitting a two-run homer into the rightfield seats to put the Yankees on the scoreboard.
Santana retired the first two batters in the next inning, before the onslaught began. A-Rod singled to begin the rally. Cano again followed with a two-run homer. After the game, Cano spoke about hitting against Santana, “He’s a guy who throws a lot of strikes. That’s the kind to be aggressive against. You have to be lucky to be successful against a pitcher like that, one of the best in the game.” Cano has been more than lucky against Santana as he has hit successfully 10 times in 26 at bats.
The home run barrage did not end with Cano. The next two batters, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones, hit homers to left. The three back-to-back- home runs were last accomplished by Yankees batters on august 28, 2011 in Baltimore. Interestingly, the feat was done by the same three batters in the same order.
Yankee manager Joe Girardi said of his team’s output, “He [Santana] got the ball up a little bit and our guys took advantage of it. They put some pretty good at bats on him.”
Santana had never given up four home runs in a single game. Mets manager Terry Collins again proved to be a stand-up leader by his remarks taking responsibility for Santana’s performance, “Because of that decision [giving Santana two extra days of rest since his last start], I’m responsible for how he pitched tonight. That’s what caused him to be rusty tonight. He doesn’t make those kinds of mistakes [keeping the ball up]. He just wasn’t sharp. We erred on the side of caution. It cost us the game tonight.”
The fans were close to seeing a no-hitter by Kuroda. The 37 year-old veteran hurler from Japan did not yield a hit until two were out in the sixth when shortstop Omar Quintanilla doubled to right center. Girardi opined, “He had great command of his slider and curveball, His fastball was effective.
Kurida left the game after seven innings, having retired 20 of 23 batters, Jeter made an error in the fourth and Lucas Duda walked in the seventh. Of Kuroda’s stint on the mound, Collins remarked, “That’s the best I’ve ever seen him pitch.”
The Subway Series continues on Saturday night at 7:15 pm, weather permitting, with Phil Hughes (5-5) facing Dillon Gee (4-3).