Flushing, NY—Game #2 of the Subway Series on Tuesday night was delayed for 1 hour and 31 minutes by heavy showers, but there was never an intention to postpone the contest.
A phalanx of camera operators was gathered behind home plate to capture the ceremonial first pitch. Mariano Rivera, the premier closer in baseball history, was being honored on the occasion of his final game at Citi Field by tossing the ball to John Franco, the finest closer in Mets history.
Pitching continued to be in the spotlight when the regular season game began. Starters Hiroki Kuroda and Matt Harvey have, thus far, been the aces of their staffs. The possibility of a perfect game or a no-hitter by either hurler was eliminated early in the game.
The second Met batter in the game, Daniel Murphy, singled to right. The hit was the 24th in his previous 60 at bats, .400, for the hot hitting infielder. Yankee shortstop Reid Brigniac led off the third with a single to right, his first hit as a Yankee.
Although the pitching of the two starters was not perfect, it is only fair to state it was excellent. In a replica of the game of the night before, neither team scored during the first five frames.
As also took place on the night before, the Yankees scored their only run of the game in the top of the sixth. Another similarity was that both run scoring rallies were begun by a base hit by Brett Gardner. On Wednesday, Gardner singled and went to second on an error by rightfielder Marlon Byrd. A single by Lyle Overbay drove Gardner across the plate. Of the hit by Overbay, Mets manager Terry Collins remarked, “He [Harvey] made a mistake and it cost him.” After the game, Harvey agreed, “as soon as I let it go, I wanted to take it back.”
Although both starting pitchers pitched well enough to earn the win, they were not involved in the decision. Kuroda pitched seven innings, allowed no runs, walked no batters, gave up only four singles and fanned seven. Harvey, Kuroda’s junior by 14 years, pitched equally well. He yielded six hits, all singles, fanned 10 and did not issue a base on balls, but did give up one run in the sixth.
This season, the 24 year-old has compiled superlative stats, 5-0 won/loss mark, 1.85 ERA, opponents’ batting average of 1.72, 9.7 strikeouts per 9 innings. Smiling, Collins commented, “He’s really going to be fun to watch in the years to come.”
The outcome was determined in a strikingly similar manner to the game the day before. On Wednesday, the victim was not reliever David Robertson but surprisingly was the seemingly prefect closer Mariano Rivera. With a 1-0 lead in the ninth and Rivera going for his 19th consecutive save of the season, ran into trouble. In only nine pitches, Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Lucas Duda got consecutive hits to score two runs. Rivera admitted, “It did happen quick.” The humble baseball great took the responsibility, “There’s no excuse. Kuroda pitched an excellent game. For me to do that is unacceptable.”
The final two games of this year’s Subway Series now shift to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Two righties will face off on Wednesday night. David Phelps (3-2) will start for the Yanks against winless Jeremy Hefner (0-5) for the Mets.