The New York Mets eye their first four-game winning streak of the season on Wednesday, as their Subway Series against the Yankees shifts to the Bronx for the next two games.
That may be easier said than done for the Mets, who lost all three games at Yankee Stadium a year ago. In fact, since recording a sweep in the Bronx in 2008, the Mets have since dropped nine of 12 there.
The Mets, though, won the first two legs of this odd four-game set in thrilling fashion and on Tuesday they came through with three consecutive hits against Mariano Rivera during a two-run ninth-inning rally that gave the club a dramatic 2-1 victory.
Daniel Murphy greeted Rivera (0-1) with a bloop double down the left-field line in the bottom of the ninth and David Wright followed with a single up the middle to bring home the tying run. Lucas Duda then dropped in a base hit to right that plated Wright.
"I've struggled lately, there's no going around it," Duda admitted. "I got jammed and it went over (Robinson) Cano's head and we scored."
Remarkably, each of the Mets' last six triumphs have come in their last at- bat. They downed the Yankees by a 2-1 count in Monday's opener on Murphy's tie-breaking RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Mets honored the retiring Rivera by having him toss the ceremonial pregame offering to his former counterpart on the other side of town, John Franco, but weren't as gracious in handing the 43-year-old his first blown save in 19 chances this season.
"That's the game of baseball, anything can happen," Rivera said of his blown save. "It happened quick."
Both teams received outstanding starting pitching, as Hiroki Kuroda tossed seven scoreless innings for the Yankees, while Mets phenom Matt Harvey allowed just a run and struck out 10 batters in his eight innings.
Hoping for that same type of effort on Wednesday, the Mets will pin their hopes on righty Jeremy Hefner, who is 0-5 with a 4.76 ERA. Hefner did not get a decision on Friday against Atlanta, but he pitched well, surrendering two runs and three hits in six innings of a 7-5 loss.
"I was so excited that he pitched so well after he's been so down about not winning a game," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
This will be Hefner's first-ever start against the Yankees, who will turn to righty David Phelps.
"It's going to be fun. It's something you watch on TV," said Hefner, who pitched a perfect relief inning against the Yankees at Citi Field in 2012. "Obviously, I grew up watching the old Yankee Stadium, but it's pretty much the same -- it's the same locations, same dimensions and everything."
Phelps won his second straight start on Friday against Tampa Bay, as he allowed four runs and six hits in a career-high 7 2/3 innings to run his record to 3-2 to go along with a 3.96 ERA.
Since joining the rotation on May 1, Phelps has gone 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA.
The Yankees took five of six from the Mets last season.