Raul Ibanez tied the game with a three-run homer, pinch-hitter Eric Chavez came through with a go-ahead shot moments later and the New York Yankees rallied past the New York Mets 4-3 Saturday night to stop a three-game skid.
Riding the long ball again, the Yankees won for the fourth time in five Subway Series matchups this season. The finale is quite an attraction, too, with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey coming off consecutive one-hitters when he faces Yankees ace CC Sabathia in a much-anticipated duel Sunday night.
Daniel Murphy, who hasn't homered all season, nearly won this one for the Mets in the ninth inning. With a runner aboard, he hit a deep drive into the right-field corner that was caught just in front of the fence for the final out.
The seventh-inning homers by Ibanez and Chavez helped the Yankees overcome a three-run deficit against Chris Young. They also bailed out right-hander Ivan Nova, who won his previous five starts but left down 3-0 in the sixth.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered for the Mets, who had won seven straight interleague games and four in a row overall. He also struck out his last three times up to strand five runners — three in scoring position.
Lucas Duda had a key miscue in right field and then squandered two chances at the plate to get the Mets back in the game. They left 11 runners on overall, six in scoring position, before a sellout crowd of 42,122 — the largest in the four-year history of Citi Field.
Clay Rapada (2-0) fanned Nieuwenhuis with two on in the sixth, and Boone Logan pitched out of trouble in the seventh. David Robertson worked around a pair of one-out walks in the eighth, fanning Nieuwenhuis to end the inning, and Rafael Soriano got three outs for his 14th save in 15 chances.
Making his fourth major league start since returning from shoulder surgery, Young cruised into the seventh with a 3-0 lead. But it all unraveled in a span of nine pitches.
Mark Teixeira, who is 0 for 8 against the right-hander, worked out a leadoff walk, and Nick Swisher took a hefty cut that produced only a soft fly to medium right field. Duda, still learning the intricacies of outfield play, broke back on the ball and then charged in. He came up short on a diving attempt, and the ball bounced past him for a double, Swisher's 1,000th career hit.
Ibanez lined the next pitch barely over the fence in the right-field corner for his 11th homer, tying the score at 3.
That was it for Young, who had an RBI single in the sixth. One out later, Chavez sliced an 0-2 pitch from Jon Rauch (3-7) into the left-field corner for his first career pinch-hit homer and the Yankees' second of the season.
Struggling with runners in scoring position all season, the homer-happy Yankees have beaten the Mets with the long ball. They have 13 home runs against their crosstown rivals this season, accounting for 20 of their 26 runs. The Bronx Bombers lead the majors with 110 homers in 70 games, including 32 in the last 18 games.
The Mets had a great chance to tie it in the seventh. But with a runner on third, Logan whiffed Duda on three pitches and made another left-handed hitter, Murphy, look bad on an inning-ending strikeout.
Nova, who is 12-0 in his last 16 road starts, allowed three runs — two earned — and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. He gave up two runs in his previous three starts covering 22 2-3 innings.
NOTES: Mets LF Jason Bay (concussion) was in the clubhouse before the game and said he hopes to be back after the All-Star break, though there is no timetable for his return. "He's still got some discomfort in his shoulders and some other things that are still feeling the brunt of the collision with the wall, but the fact that his head feels better, that the headaches and the dizziness are going away — those are great signs," manager Terry Collins said. "I know our medical team will take this slow and hopefully get him back as soon as we possibly can." ... Mets 1B Ike Davis was scratched from the lineup about 90 minutes before the first pitch because of possible food poisoning. ... Collins wants SS Ruben Tejada (strained right quadriceps) to play a few more rehab games at Triple-A Buffalo before returning. "I want to make sure his legs get in really good shape before he's back here," the manager said. Tejada has been on the DL since May 7. ... Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the team has no plans to bring in a knuckleballer to throw batting practice Sunday in preparation for Dickey. ... Yankees C Russell Martin was pulled in the ninth with a stiff back. ... The Yankees and Indians are the only teams that haven't lost four straight games this season.