New York Yankees

After the Mets dropped five runs Friday night, the New York Yankees returned the favor during a Saturday afternoon matinee at Citi Field.

By Jeff Weisinger

On a day after the New York Yankees bats did next to nothing against rookie Steven Matz, both Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann launched a three and two-run homer, respectively, to guide the Bombers to a 5-0 win over the Mets to even up this weekend’s Subway Series at one game apiece.

The win puts the Yanks just four games behind Toronto for first-place in the American League East. This is crucial despite Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said before the game that the main goal is to get into the postseason whether it’s as division champs or as the wild card team.

“There are certain spots in the playoffs you’d prefer to enter,” Cashman said via Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. “You want to be the division champs…But that’s not the only way to accomplish the dream. The dream isn’t supposed to stop at the wildcard or a division title. It’s supposed to be that last team standing.”

“If we’re the World Champs, I don’t care how we get it.”

The Bombers have a huge three-game series against the AL East-leading Jays at the Rogers Centre in Toronto beginning on Monday night, a series that should ultimately determine the winner of the divisional pennant.

The Yanks earned a huge boost on the mound from Michael Pineda, who earned his 11th win on the season on Saturday, who pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings and allowed just four hits and a walk with four strikeouts. The Yankee bullpen held the Mets scoreless for the remaining 3 2/3 innings and combined for eight strikeouts. Lefty Justin Wilson had the most productive outing of the group, pitching 1 1/3 inning while also striking out four batters.

The win is Pineda’s first since he defeated Boston back on Sept. 1 and the shutout performance is his first since July 4. It’s a big win for him considering the fact that PIneda has struggled since returning to the rotation from the disabled list, recording a 5.82 ERA in his last four starts.

Pineda was taken out by manager Joe Girardi after allowing consecutive singles to the Mets to open the sixth inning. He threw just 86 pitches to that point.

The Bombers lineup got to Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard in the very beginning as both Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner each singled to right field to get runners on base early. Beltran came on and hit an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right to put the Yanks up 3-0 in the top of the first.

Syndergaard settled down in a hurry after the top of the first, retiring the next 12 Yankee batters he faced before Dustin Ackley hit a triple to the center field wall against him in the top of the fifth.

Ackley’s triple was all for nothing as Didi Gregorius and Pineda struck out swinging while Ellsbury grounded out to second to end the fifth.

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Overall, the rookie Syndergaard went six innings, allowing seven hits while allowing the five runs. He struck out eight batters for the second consecutive start and has struck out eight or more in three of his last four outings.

He only had serious trouble early in the first inning and in the sixth inning when he allowed a single up the middle to Beltran while catcher McCann followed with a two-run home run of his own to right field.

The Mets tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs as both Michael Cuddyer and Wilmer Flores got on base. However, after two pitching changes by Girardi that eventually saw him reluctantly use closer Andrew Miller in a non-save situation, Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud grounded to third where Chase Headley tagged him for the final out.

The Yankees have now won three of their last five games and have a chance to take the Subway Series from the postseason-bound Mets Sunday night (8:08 p.m. ET, ESPN), when C.C. Sabathia (4-9, 4.93 ERA) takes on Matt Harvey (12-7, 2.88 ERA).

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Featured Columnist for FanSided and Beat-Writer for New York City FC. My #LifeAfterQB is incredibly #blessed.