Cleveland, OH – Eric Young's ninth inning double broke a tie game and the New York Mets avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians by notching a 2-1 victory on Sunday.
New York failed to score with the bases loaded in the eighth, but were able to break the 1-1 deadlock in the ninth off Chris Perez (5-3). Matt den Dekker singled to start the frame, moved to second on Anthony Recker's sac bunt, then came in to score on Young's extra-base hit into right.
Jason Giambi greeted LaTroy Hawkins in the last half of the ninth with a single. Mike Aviles came on to pinch run, but was thrown out by Recker trying to steal second base. Upset with the call, Aviles was ejected and Hawkins got Drew Stubbs to strike out to secure his eighth save.
Frank Francisco (1-0) made his first appearance of the season, inducing an inning-ending double play in the eighth when the Indians had the bases loaded.
Cleveland, which had a four-game win streak stopped, now sits two games back of Tampa Bay for the last wild card spot in the American League. The Rays defeated Seattle on Sunday.
"We took two out of three, we're still playing well here at home," said Indians reliever Joe Smith.
Daisuke Matsuzaka put forth his best outing in a Mets uniform, allowing one run on three hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six while walking three against the team that cut him loose in August.
Justin Turner belted his second home run of the series when he blasted one deep into the left field seats to begin the fourth and stake New York to a 1-0 lead.
That was only run Indians starter Danny Salazar allowed. He struck out eight and allowed only four hits, but was pulled after throwing 80 pitches in four innings.
"You know, I don't know because I've never seen him pitch before," said Mets manager Terry Collins on why he thought Salazar was removed. "This is the first time I've ever seen him, but Terry (Francona) knows what he's doing."
Matsuzaka departed with the bases loaded, having allowed three straight Cleveland batters to reach with two out. Vic Black took over on the mound and promptly plunked Asdrubal Cabrera to force in a run, tying the game at 1-1.
Giambi, though, grounded out to leave three runners stranded. Cabrera then failed to come through in the eighth with the bases full, grounding into an inning ending double play.
The Mets had lost their last five interleague games ... New York's Juan Lagares went 0-for-4, ending a 12-game hitting streak ... Matsuzaka made 19 starts for Cleveland's Triple-A squad before requesting his release ... The Indians were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.