Published June 09, 2012
NEW YORK – Dillon Gee was uncomfortable all night. It hardly showed until he made one big mistake to Mark Teixeira.
Gee gave up a go-ahead homer to Teixeira, and Phil Hughes pitched the surging New York Yankees to a 4-2 victory over the Mets on Saturday.
David Wright hit a long homer and Omar Quintanilla went deep for the first time since 2008, but the scuffling Mets lost for the fifth time in six games. A pregame message on a clubhouse grease board encouraged them to "stay positive" and "keep battling."
"Singles don't win too many games in this ballpark," manager Terry Collins said. "We have to have somebody step up and get some hits."
Gee (4-4) worked around leadoff walks in the third and fourth innings before another one came back to bite him in the sixth. He was one strike from escaping again when Teixeira lined a 2-2 breaking ball over the short porch in right to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
Teixeira's 11th homer was the first hit for the Yankees since three of their initial four batters singled.
"I would throw that pitch again, just a little better. I hung it just a little bit," said Gee, who had trouble staying loose and with his footing on the mound. "I didn't feel very good tonight. I thought my command was all right."
After a 9-1 loss Friday night, the Mets dropped to 2-14 in series in the Bronx.
"They have a lot of power up and down that lineup. We don't," Wright said.
And that's one reason the Yankees have spent two nights in a row reminding the Mets which team gets top billing in New York.
Curtis Granderson also homered and Alex Rodriguez had an early RBI single for the Yankees (33-25), who go for a Subway Series sweep Sunday with Andy Pettitte on the mound against Jonathon Niese. They have won seven of nine and 12 of 16 to move a season-high eight games over .500.
"Right now we're on a nice little run," Teixeira said. "Starting pitching has been the key."
An injury-depleted bullpen has delivered, too. With runners at the corners, Rafael Soriano retired rookie pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin on a routine fly for the final out.
Collins went with Valdespin over veteran Scott Hairston.
"Soriano has been really good on right-handed hitters. Jordany has provided us some good late-game at-bats," Collins said. "I took a shot."
Gee gave the Mets a strong outing but his teammates managed only two solo homers against Hughes (6-5), who topped his win total from an injury-plagued 2011 season. Coming off a four-hitter against Detroit in which he threw a career-high 123 pitches, the right-hander struck out six over 6 1-3 innings to win his third straight decision. He is 5-1 in his last seven starts.
Cory Wade and a fine running catch in deep left-center by Granderson kept the Mets at bay in the seventh. Granderson added his 18th homer off Bobby Parnell in the eighth, ending an 0-for-18 slump, and Soriano got three outs for his ninth save in nine chances.
The matchup between crosstown foes was just one event on a jam-packed sports schedule Saturday in the New York area. Also on the docket: the Belmont Stakes, Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals, a world-class track and field meet and an exhibition soccer match between South American rivals Brazil and Argentina.
Teixeira put the home team on top at Yankee Stadium before a sellout crowd of 48,575.
"I think the crowd gives us energy. It's a big series for New York," Teixeira said. "When you're playing at home it just makes it that much more special."
Derek Jeter snapped an 0-for-17 slide with a leadoff single in the first. He advanced on Gee's balk and scored when Rodriguez grounded a single up the middle.
Quintanilla tied it when he connected on a 2-2 pitch in the third for his third major league homer and first since a game-ending shot for Colorado against Cincinnati on Aug. 24, 2008.
Wright drove his eighth homer to the back of the Mets' bullpen in the sixth, far beyond the 399-foot sign on the left-center fence.
NOTES: Mets 1B Ike Davis, mired in a season-long slump, received some advice from Hall of Fame slugger Reggie Jackson. Davis said he met Mr. October, now a special adviser with the Yankees, as a kid when he used to come to Old Timers' Day with his father, Ron, who pitched for the Yankees. "It is really cool that he recognized me," Davis said. "Yeah, we talked about hitting. It is not like we are going to talk about how to play the outfield. He gave me some good advice. Not mechanics or anything like that. Stuff like not trying to hit the ball out of the park, let your swing do the work. More about the approach." ... Niese was given an extra day of rest after leaving his most recent start with an accelerated heart rate, an issue he encountered last season as well. But everything checked out fine — again — and Collins said Niese is ready to go.