Murphy, Niese lead Mets to 2-1 win over Yankees
Daniel Murphy spiked the bat as he ran up the first base line. When he reached the bag, the second baseman unleashed a primal scream.
Murphy’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth plated Jordany Valdespin with the game-winning run in the Mets’ 2-1 win over the Yankees in the first game of the Subway Series Monday night at Citi Field.
“Dan’s hit tonight meant something,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I know it’s the Yankees, and they’re used to playing in these games and all this stuff. For us, it’s a big win. The way we’ve been going, it’s huge for us. So a little emotion is involved. If they take offense to it, I don’t know what we’re going to do about it except play again [Tuesday].”
The Mets (19-29) have won consecutive games for the first time since May 16-17. The Yankees have lost two in a row.
“Two in a row,” David Wright said. “Got [Matt Harvey] going [Tuesday and maybe it gives] us some momentum.”
Murphy’s game-winning RBI broke a 1-1 deadlock. With two outs and runners on the corners, Murphy won a five-pitch at-bat against David Robertson (3-1) by slapping a cutter to centerfield that scored Jordany Valdespin.
“I was able to get a positive count,” Murphy said. “I got a pitch in the zone and centered it.”
That the Mets were in position to win the first of four Subway Series games this week in part to strong work from Wright and Jon Niese.
Wright’s solo home run to lead off the seventh tied the game at 1-1. He also tripled in the first and started an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play in the second, when the Yankees had the bases loaded.
“Big players make big plays,” Collins said. “That’s what he is. That’s why he’s the captain. It amazing how many times those guys come through for you when you need them.”
Even though Niese (3-5) did not earn a decision, he threw seven sterling innings, allowing just one run on eight hits while walking one. He struck out four.
The lone run Niese allowed was due to Mike Baxter misplaying Jayson Nix’s dying quail in the sixth inning. Baxter took a step back, then charged in and attempted to make a sliding catch. The ball landed short of his glove and rolled past Baxter, who had no shot to recover in time to get Brett Gardner at the plate. Gardner had led off the inning with a triple.
“He got outs when he had to,” Collins said. “He got us to where we needed to get. He didn’t let the game get out of control.”
Niese was matched by crosstown counterpart Phil Hughes (2-3), who scattered four hits and struck out six in seven innings.
“It was a good outing for him,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I thought he commanded the strike zone pretty well. I thought he used his off-speed pretty well tonight. It’s good to see. The last game, he gave us six innings, I believe it was. So it’s good to see him put a couple good ones back to back.”
He was aided by strong defensive play in the field, highlighted by Gardner robbing Murphy of a homer to end the bottom of the sixth inning.
“It’s pretty special,” Girardi said of Gardner’s catch. “It looked for awhile [like Gardner] was going to be the star of the game, with the triple and then taking away the home run. But it didn’t end up that way, unfortunately. Tremendous catch by [Gardner].”
The Yankees have lost two in a row, and coupled with Boston’s 9-3 win over the Phillies Monday night, they dropped to second in the AL East.
Brandon Lyon (2-2) threw a shutout eighth to earn the win. Bobby Parnell recorded his eighth save.
“I think he’s come of age, for sure,” Collins said of Parnell. “I think this is another big step for him to move forward in this role, which I think he’s obviously taken. I think he’s going to keep it and I think he’s going to be a good one for a long time.”
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.