New York – A chicken became a story line Friday night at Citi Field before the New York Mets took the field for the first of three against the cross-town Yankees. Sunday evening, after the Yankees took the finale of their six-game inter league series, they Yankees were not the chickens.
Instead, Robinson Cano hit the go ahead home run for the Yankees in the eighth inning at Citi Field. The Yankees won their fifth straight individual series against the Mets. 6-5, and a chicken joke about the team, initiated by Mets reliever Frank Francisco, became a novelty.
Because the Yankees once again proved they are the better baseball team in New York, a chicken joke to them meant nothing. They took five of six games from the Mets, the first time they have done that since 2009.
“They hit balls out of the ballpark like there’s nothing to it,” said Mets manager Terry Collins who admitted it may have been a mistake not bringing in lefty Tim Brydak to face Cano.
Miguel Batista (1-2) gave up the home run ball, the 16th by Cano leading off the eighth with two strikes. It was hit straight to center, the 15th home run hit by the Yankees against the Mets in the six games. Seven of those long balls were hit at Citi Field the past three games, which accounted for 24 of the Yankees 32 runs.
The Yankees were not chickens in this latest installment of the Subway Series that had some more interest the past few weeks. The Mets have been a better team this season and that also accounted for another sellout at Citi Field, 42,364 the largest crowd for the ballpark that opened in 2009.
And Francisco was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a strained muscle on his left side. So the chicken initiator, who saved the Mets win Friday night, had no bearing on the outcome of the finale.
It was supposed to be an anticipated pitcher’s duel. R.A. Dickey of the Mets, without allowing an earned run in 44.2 innings and dominant with an 11-1 record and 2.00 ERA ,who will most likely get the start for the NL all-stars in a few weeks at the midsummer classic.
He surrendered a run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly. He threw a wild pitch in the fifth inning and allowed five runs earned. The streak is over for now.
“I didn’t have a great knuckleball,” commented Dickey. “It was just coming out wobbly a little bit. I kept searching for it,” he said.
The 37-year old helped the Mets overcome a four-run deficit. He got a single off CC Sabathia the Yankees starter in the fifth inning. Sabathia did his part, 9 hits in 5/2-3 innings. But he gave up five runs, one earned.
“My focus was on tonight,” said Dickey who made a point that it was like a playoff atmosphere pitching against the Yankees in a crowded ballpark. “It was nice,” he said about the scoreless streak. “I’m hoping to start another one.”
Ruben Tejada in his first game back from the disabled list went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs, and a single off Cory Wade tied the game in the sixth. Andres Torres also had two hits and drove in two runs, including a two- out hit that went past Mark Teixeira at first in the same inning.
“Tomorrow is another game,” said Torres who experienced his first stint of games against the Yankees.
And with the chicken quickly disappearing from the scene, there is a realization that the six games, which have been a part of this home and home series, will be a thing of the past.
Next year, with the schedule going more towards more inter league games, the Mets and Yankees cross-town series will be reduced to three games which was the original format when inter league play started in 1997.
“We don’t get caught up taking two of three here,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
He also won’t complain about the series going back to three games next season. Girardi is an advocate for that more balanced schedule and winning games against teams in your division.
The Yankees have won 14 of their last 18 road games, with or without the balanced schedule. Collins won’t mind not seeing the Yankees again, unless of course they should meet in October.
“Not bad for a bunch of chickens,” added the Yankees Nick Swisher who got hold of a Dickey knuckleball and hit his 11th home run to right-center in the Yankees four-run third inning.
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