Big Mike, Bullpen Tames Mets

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Carlos Beltran hits a three-run homer into the second deck to quickly open the scoring in the top of the 1st inning at Citi Field on September 20, 2015

Game 147 / 81-66 / 2nd / -3.5 GB : Let’s face it — every game is a must-win from here on out, and everything came together this afternoon in Queens for the The Bronx Bombers — pitching, defense and the home run ball. Michael Pineda and bullpen combined for the Yankees’ 4th shutout of the season, defeating the Mets 5-0, as Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann clubbed big fly’s accounting for all 5 runs.

Here’s the box score, full recap, and video highlights.

Yankees 5, Mets 0

“We’re too veteran for that. There’s not a back-against-the-wall thing. If we just continue to hit, continue to pitch and play good defense, we’ll be there at the end.” ‐ Brian McCann when asked if the Yankees have a backs-to-the-wall mentality. (h/t: Chad Jennings/LoHud)

  • Vintage Big Mike   Pineda turned in his best start in a long time, shutting down the homer-happy Mets and giving his team a chance to turn the tide in the series — and the season. In 5.1 innings, he scattered 4 hits, while striking out 4 and allowing only 1 walk.
  • Big Hits   Where would the Bombers be without Carlos Beltran in the second half? After Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner led off the game with singles, the right-fielder set the tone with a mammoth 3-run homer to right. Brian McCann added some much-needed padding against the offensive-minded Mets with a 2-run shot of his own.
  • What A Relief   The bullpen bounced back strong today, picking up Pineda and nailing down the final 11 outs, at one point striking out 7 straight Mets. Getting the job done was Justin Wilson, Caleb Cotham, Dellin Betances, Chris Martin — who needed Andrew Miller to finish it in the 9th after getting the first two outs, then allowing 2 base runners.
  • Missed Opportunity   With the score still 3-0 in the 5th, Dustin Ackley led off with a triple, but was stranded on third in what loomed as a big insurance run at the moment. McCann’s 2-run blast an inning later took the sting out that.
  • Joint Packed   Today’s contest drew the largest crowd in the Citi Field’s brief history — 43,630. The park in Flushing Meadows opened in 2009, same year as the new Yankee Stadium.

“It was just the at-bats (Daniel) Murphy had against (Pineda) before, that’s it. I went with Willy (Justin Wilson), and he did an outstanding job for us today” ‐ Joe Girardi on why he lifted Pineda in the 6th after only 86 pitches and not allowing a run.

Thank You, Beantown!
UPDATE: The Boston Red Sox just staged a dramatic comeback win with 5 runs in the 9th inning, then held off a Blue Jays rally for a 7-6 victory in Toronto! It’s back to a 3.5 game deficit for New York in the AL East. Do it again tomorrow, Red Sox!

MEMORY LANE : On today’s date in 1993, the Yankees were trailing by two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Mike Stanley hits a pop fly to left field for the apparent third out to end the game, but time had been called just as the pitch was delivered due to a fan running out onto the Yankee Stadium field. Given a second chance, the Bronx Bomber catcher singles, which is followed by a Wade Boggs hit, a walk to Dion James, and a Don Mattingly single driving in two runs to beat the Red Sox, 4-3 …
Today in 1930, Yankees’ pitcher Red Ruffing hit two home runs as the Yankees edged the St. Louis Browns 7-6 in 10 innings …
On September 18th, 1965, on Mickey Mantle Day at Yankee Stadium, 50,180 fans see Mantle play his 2,000th game …
(h/t: NationalPastime.com, Baseball-Reference.com, Today in Baseball History)
FOOTNOTES : After tomorrow’s series finale (a 8PM EST tilt on the 4-letter network), the Yankees are done with inter-league match ups, and with the exception of a four-game set against the White Sox, they’ll face only divisional opponents in the remaining games — Toronto, Boston and Baltimore. CC Sabathia will face Matt Harvey tomorrow in what promises to be wild finish to this year’s Subway Series…
 

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