Martin's walk-off homer wins it for Yankees

NEW YORK YANKEES Value: $1.85 billion Owner: Steinbrenner NEW YORK YANKEES
Value: $1.85 billion
Owner: Steinbrenner family
Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

There was no joy in Metsville at Yankee Stadium this weekend. Russell Martin's walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday gave the Yankees a 5-4 victory and a sweep of the first round of the Subway Series.

Martin, leading off the inning, launched a 3-and-2 slider from Jon Rauch to leftfield to break a 4-4 tie. It was Martin's third career walk-off home run and first as a Yankee.

Facing Jon Niese, Martin hit a two-run home run off the top of the rightfield wall in the seventh to begin the Yankees' comeback from a 3-0 deficit.

The Yankees then took a 4-3 lead in the eighth on RBI singles by Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, the second one a bloop to shallow rightfield.

But the Mets tied it in the ninth on back-to-back doubles by Lucas Duda and Ike Davis off Rafael Soriano, who blew a save for the first time in 10 chances.

"It feels great," said Martin, who has four homers in his last six games. "You couldn't have written a better script for me. We battled all day, stayed in the game, got some clutch hits, a couple to fall our way -- it's nice to get those every once in a while. But it definitely feels good to get that sweep."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

It was the Yankees' first three-game Subway Series sweep since 2009 and first at Yankee Stadium since 2003. The teams meet again June 22-24 at Citi Field.

The Yankees (34-25) have won eight of their last 10 and 13 of 17. The Mets (32-29) have lost six of seven.

Asked to describe the Mets' mood after their latest tough loss, manager Terry Collins said: "Angry."

Rauch (3-6) backed that up. "He ---- hit it a mile and I cost the game," he said. "Made a couple good pitches and hung one and he hit the ---- out of it."

The Mets also made a pair of costly errors. David Wright threw away a two-out grounder in the seventh before Martin's first home run brought the Yankees to within 3-2. And Omar Quintanilla whiffed on Derek Jeter's slow grounder in the next inning as the Yankees scored two more to take a short-lived lead. The play was scored an infield single and an error, and the two runs were earned, but Collins said Quintanilla should have made the play.

"We're always angry when we lose," Wright said. "Standings-wise, this is a loss and it's probably a game that we should have won and would have liked to have won, but you give a good team an opportunity and you give them extra outs and they're going to find a way to beat you."

The Mets took a 3-0 lead in the second inning against Andy Pettitte. Vinny Rottino had an RBI single and, after Robinson Cano booted a potential inning-ending double-play ball, Jordany Valdespin bounced a two-run double inside the first-base bag. But Pettitte struck out Jason Bay and Wright to leave the bases loaded.

After the Yankees pulled to within a run on Martin's first homer, which ricocheted off the top of the rightfield wall, went high in the air and landed in the hands of a fan, Jeter led off the eighth against Bobby Parnell with a slow bouncer to short. Quintanilla completely missed it on the glove side. The ball was hit so softly that it died in the centerfield grass and Jeter hustled into second. Three singles later, the Yankees had a 4-3 lead. "In the eighth inning, we just got lucky," Teixeira said. "We found some holes, took advantage of a few lapses in the defense and that was the ballgame."

Actually, it wasn't. After the Mets tied it at 4 with none out in the top of the ninth, the Yankees put on the wheel play with Davis at second and Quintanilla at the plate. Shortstop Jayson Nix began moving to cover third, but when Quintanilla hit a ground ball instead of bunting, Nix stopped, fielded it and threw out Davis at third.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Daniel Murphy singled to put runners on first and third and knock out Soriano, but Boone Logan struck out Josh Thole and got Kirk Nieuwenhuis on a grounder to second to send it to the bottom of the ninth.

Then Martin ended it quickly before almost injuring himself with an awkward mini-jump onto home plate that left him on the ground.

"I tried to jump in the air, you know, to celebrate," Martin said. "I got about two inches off the ground but still managed to touch home plate. Feels good."

You also may be interested in: