Mike Pelfrey had been the ace that the Mets expect him to be for six innings. Then the seventh rolled around.
“It’s frustrating,” Pelfrey said after the Mets’ 9-3 Subway Series loss to the Yankees. Pelfrey (3-4) went six innings-plus, allowed eight hits and five earned runs. He struck out four and walked two as his ERA rose from 5.11 to 5.37.
Thirteen Yankees came to bat in the inning in which they scored eight runs, a season high. Brett Gardner singled and doubled in the inning, while Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Chris Dickerson recorded base hits.
Leading 3-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, Pelfrey allowed a leadoff single to Gardner and walked Dickerson before hitting Francisco Cervelli in the shoulder as the Yankee catcher attempted a bunt. Cervelli laid motionless at home plate for a minute before jogging to first.
“I’m definitely not trying to hit him there,” Pelfrey said. “Hitting Cervelli is throwing gasoline on the fire.”
Pelfrey and the Mets were burned as Jeter singled up the middle to score Gardner and Dickerson to tie the game at 3-3.
“He was fine,” Terry Collins said of Pelfrey. “I asked him after the sixth how he was doing and he said that he felt great. A ground ball up the middle, two ground balls up the middle, a walk and a hits batsman. You can’t walk guys in this ballpark. You’re going to get in trouble.”
Collins lifted Pelfrey for Tim Byrdak. The left-handed specialist intentionally walked Mark Teixeira to load the bases after Curtis Granderson dropped a sac bunt that moved Cervelli to third and Jeter to second.
The next batter, Alex Rodriguez, entered the game with 22 grand slams in his Hall-of-Fame to be career. He ended the at-bat with 22 grand slams and an infield RBI single off of right-hander Pedro Beato that gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Cano, Gardner and Dickerson followed with base hits that increased the advantage to 9-3.
“It was just one of those innings. They swung it and it found a hole. We got ground balls; we got pop-ups that dropped in. Nothing we can do about those,” Collins said. He then explained his thinking as it pertained to loading the bases for Rodriguez.
“I still needed a ground ball and I got a ground ball,” Collins said. “I’m well aware of ARod, who he is, what he is, what he’s been and what he will still be. He’s truly one of the great players that has ever played this game. But situations dictate you try to get out of the inning with a ground ball. That’s why I did it.”
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