NEW YORK — All that Alex Rodriguez had to show for his first time facing Matt Harvey was admiration for the young ace.
Baseball’s top villain went hitless in four at-bats against The Dark Knight, and the rest of the New York Yankees had about as much success against a coolly efficient Harvey in an 8-2 loss to the crosstown-rival Mets on April 25 that evened the Subway Series 1-all.
“That was fast!” said A-Rod, who struck out twice. “I mean, it’s so fun to see these great young pitchers come up. Actually, it’s not that fun, but he’s awesome. That’s what baseball’s all about. He challenged me with a 98 mph fastball and threw it right by me.”
CC Sabathia couldn’t keep pace with Harvey, who rooted for the Yankees growing up. The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner gave up seven runs and nine hits, including homers to Lucas Duda, Eric Campbell and Kevin Plawecki. The rough outing got Sabathia (0-4) booed as he walked off the field after allowing the first two batters to reach in the sixth inning.
Juan Lagares went 4-for-4 with an RBI triple for the Mets, who got six of their seven RBIs from the Nos. 6-9 batters.
“I just want to help the team win, and I haven’t been able to do that three of four times out, or whatever it’s been,” Sabathia said. “This stings a little bit more, because I didn’t give us a chance at all.”
Harvey (4-0) and the Mets rebounded from having their 11-game winning streak snapped in the Subway Series opener and kept pace with the 1986 World Series champions for the best start in franchise history at 14-4.
In the first Harvey Day at Yankee Stadium, the young ace from Connecticut didn’t disappoint. Coming off Tommy John surgery, he received a nice ovation from Mets fans when he took the mound for the ninth.
With two outs, Harvey gave up just his fifth hit and second walk to push his pitch count to 107 and end his outing. He pointed at his chest and said “come on” as Manager Terry Collins came out to change pitchers.
“I still felt good. I still felt strong,” Harvey said. “Once you get that close to it you want to finish, but I think he made the right call.”
The Mets needed to wait an extra 1 minute, 4 seconds to celebrate their 12th win in 13 games as the Yankees challenged a close play at second for the final out.
Harvey struck out seven and yielded Mark Teixeira’s third homer of the series, a leadoff drive in the seventh.
Pitching with his balky left ankle taped, Harvey looked nimble fielding his position. He bounded off the mound and made a barehanded grab of a bouncer toward third base by Brian McCann in the second, then nabbed Rodriguez’s sharp shot up the middle with an acrobatic shuffle to end the third.
The Yankees jumped out early April 24 in the opener of a much-anticipated series between first-place Big Apple clubs for a 6-1 win.
In this late afternoon start, the Mets broke things open after the shadows passed the pitcher’s mound in the fourth inning to snap the Yankees’ four-game winning streak.
Duda lined a flat breaking pitch with two outs from Sabathia just over the wall in right field to open the scoring in the first.
Jacoby Ellsbury tied it in the third on a double-play grounder.
The Mets got the lead right back against a fading Sabathia, scoring four times with two outs in the fourth, including Plawecki’s first career homer and RBIs. “It was a special day in many ways,” Plawecki said.
(HOWIE RUMBERG, AP Baseball Writer)