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Mets Enter Break on a High Note, Yankees Look Like They Could Use the Rest

LongIsland.com

The Mets managed to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Pirates on Sunday, but the Yankees were crushed by Minnesota.

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Mets Salvage Last Game Against Pirates

Having lost an 11 inning game to open their last series before the All Star break, the Mets were hoping to even things up with the Pirates on Saturday. After three scoreless innings, Kirk Nieuwenhuis put the Mets ahead in the fourth when he notched an RBI double against former Yankee pitcher AJ Burnett. Marlon Byrd added to the lead on a groundout which allowed Daniel Murphy to run home, putting the Mets on top 2-0.

The lead was cut back down to 1 in the bottom frame with a Jordy Mercer RBI single, and Andrew McCutchen tied the game with a homerun in the sixth inning. McCutchen put Pittsburgh ahead with an RBI single in the seventh, and former Yankee catcher Russell Martin worked a 4-pitch walk with the bases loaded to put the Pirates ahead 4-2. That score would stay put over the next two innings, handing New York its second straight defeat.

Looking to avoid a sweep, Byrd put the Mets ahead early with a ground-rule double to score Eric Young in the first inning, and John Buck added to the lead with a 2-RBI single. Dillon Gee gave up a run in the third on a ground-rule double, but it was the only run he would allow through 6 2/3’s innings.

Murphy tripled in the seventh, scoring Eric Young in the process, and LaTroy Hawkins allowed the Pirates to score one more time in the eighth. Bobby Parnell closed out the ninth, giving New York a 4-2 win as he picked up his 17th save and Dillon Gee improved to 7-7 on the season.

The Mets improved to 41-55, 9 games under .500, with that win and remain in 4th place in the NL East, 10 games behind pace for a Wild Card spot. After tonight’s Home Run Derby—which will start at 8:00 PM in Citi Field and be captained by Robinson Cano and David Wright—and tomorrow’s MLB All Star game, which will also start at 8:00 PM, the Mets’ season will continue at 7:10 PM on Friday against the Phillies.

 

Yankees Fall to Twins

The Yankees beat the Twins on Friday thanks predominantly to a shutout performance by Hiroki Kuroda and the bullpen; unfortunately, Phil Hughes needed more than what their stunted offense could provide on Saturday.

Robinson Cano singled Ichiro Suzuki home for the first run of the game in the first inning, but a Travis Plouffe homer tied things up in the second. The score remained tied until the seventh when Ryan Doumit homered off of Hughes to put Minnesota ahead 2-1. Hughes stayed on a third of the way through the eighth, but was knocked out by a 2-run homer which gave the Twins a 4-1 advantage and the eventual win.

CC Sabathia took the mound for Sunday’s rubber game, giving his team a confidence boost as he has not lost a game to the Twins since 2007 and is 9-0 in his last 10 matches against them. The game did not start well, however, as Minnesota smacked in 2 RBI singles in the second inning to take an early lead. A 3-run homer in the third put a great deal of distance between the teams, though Cano did put the Yanks on the board with an RBI single in the bottom frame.

Another 3 Twins’ runs scored in the fourth, two of them coming on a Lyle Overbay error, to put Minnesota up 8-1. The Yanks began closing in the gap in the bottom of the inning when a Chris Stewart groundout brought Overbay home and a similar performance from Ichiro drove in Eduardo Nunez. They threatened again in the sixth as Overbay walked to start the inning and Nunez singled his way on to base, but with 2 on and 0 outs, New York could not find another run.

Ichiro did hit his 6th homer of the season in the seventh, though it was a leadoff and consequently a solo shot—New York still trailed 8-4. The twins scored the last 2 runs in the eighth and ninth innings, earning a 10-4 victory and taking the series 2-1.

Those losses drop a beleaguered Yankees team down to 51-44 before the All Star break. They remain 7 games above .500, but are in 4th place in the AL East and 3 games out of a Wild Card spot. They will try to gain some ground when they resume play against the Red Sox at 7:10 PM on Friday.