While Joe Girardi and some of the more politically correct Yankees would tell you that Frank Francisco’s chicken comments didn’t add any fuel to fire for this edition of the Subway Series, Nick Swisher let loose a little bit after tonight’s 6-5 win.
“I just think a couple of things that were said kind of spiced things up a bit,” Swisher said. “There was a little added something, but what’s done is done.”
Girardi, of course, didn’t take the bait.
“It’s possible, but our players have been through enough,” Girardi said. “They understand that words really aren’t going to change the complexion of the game.”
• Swisher provided some early fireworks for the Yankees, who scored four runs in the third off of knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. The right-hander came into tonight’s game as the hottest pitcher in baseball, having not allowed an earned run in 42 2/3 innings. After the Yankees loaded the bases in the second but came away with nothing to show for it, Mark Teixeira’s sac fly was followed by Swisher’s three-run blast to center to take a 4-0 lead in the third. “One of the best in baseball, no doubt about it,” Swisher said of Dickey. “But this is a team that steps up to those challenges.”
• Here’s a classic Swisher quote on the ball that he hit out: “I just swung hard, dude.”
• The other big blow for the Yankees came off of the bat of Robinson Cano in the top of the eighth. Cano led off with a solo shot off of Miguel Batista to break a 5-5 tie and give the Yankees the lead for good. “I never had it in my mind that I wanted to hit it out,” Cano said. “He’s a tough guy who’s been in the league for so long. I was just trying to get a hit.”
• Cano sounded pretty surprised that Mets manager Terry Collins left Batista into face him after lefty Tim Byrdak had been warming up earlier. “I saw the inning before that the lefty was warming up, but good things happen,” he said with a smile.
• Yankees starter CC Sabathia also struggled a bit in this one, but only one of the five runs that he allowed was earned. The Yankees made three errors tonight (two on throws to second from catcher Chris Stewart), but Sabathia felt that he wasn’t at his sharpest. “That was not the difference,” CC said. “I need to go out and still make pitches, and like I said, I had a lot of chances to get out of innings with two outs and two strikes… It’s up to me to be able to pick these guys up.”
• An error from Cano in what turned out to be a three-run sixth inning was the biggest blow, but to be fair, it was a tough play and the ball did seem to take an odd bounce. “You don’t want to make an error,” Cano said. “And I’m not trying to help myself, but that’s not an error. I went to my left and the ball took a bad hop.”
• Cano redeemed himself with the home run on a picturesque swing. “He’s got a lot of power,” Girardi said. “From what I saw, he didn’t try to do too much. He drove it to CF, and that tells me he’s not over-swinging.”
• The Twitter-verse was abuzz about third base coach Robby Thompson’s decision to hold Teixeira up when Raul Ibanez singled to load the bases in the second. Tex was halfway home when Thompson threw up a late stop sign, but Girardi defended the decision. “I think he would have been out,” he said.
• After Cory Wade surrendered an RBI single to Ruben Tejada that tied the game in the sixth, Boone Logan came onto pitch 1 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball for the win. Rafael Soriano notched his 15th save in 16 tries. “In the absence of Mo, you have a guy who’s really experienced there,” Girardi said. “It’s worked out really well for us.”
• What was billed as a pitcher’s duel never turned out to be one. Neither CC nor R.A. made it past the sixth inning, which almost always seems to happen when games are hyped up as much as this one was. “I thought RA just had one bad inning, and he threw the ball pretty well,” Girardi said. “CC gave up some unearned runs, and you’re going to see that. It seems like a lot of the time when you talk about a great pitching matchup, that’s what happens. And then there will be other days where you don’t talk about the pitching matchup, and it ends up being 2-1.”
• Here are some final numbers on Dickey’s incredible streak: It was the second longest scoreless streak in Mets’ history and the longest in the major since Orel Hershiser went 59 innings without allowing an earned run in 1988. The franchise record belongs to Doc Gooden, who pitched 49 consecutive innings in 1985. Dickey also threw his first wild pitch of the season in the fifth inning.
Associated Press photos