Rather than easily barbecuing a few chickens as he had hoped, Mets closer Frank Francisco was the one who almost had his feathers plucked in the Mets' Subway Series matchup with the Yankees at Citi Field Friday night.
Francisco experienced his usual high-wire act but found a way to get it done, pitching a scoreless ninth to preserve the Mets' 6-4 win before an announced crowd of 40,191 that waited out a 53-minute rain delay that pushed back the game's first pitch.
Ike Davis hit a three-run homer to cap a five-run first inning -- aided when the ball popped out of rightfielder Nick Swisher's glove and over the fence -- Justin Turner had a two-out, two-run single one pitch before Davis' home run and David Wright had an RBI double in the seventh to help the Mets win their fourth straight game.
But it was Francisco who stole the show on this night, trying to make amends for saying he "can't wait to face those chickens" in referring to the Yankees.
"I'm sure he regrets that it got out of control," Terry Collins said. "But irregardless, he's going to pitch the ninth. He's a big boy. He can go out there and get the job done, and he did it."
Robinson Cano's long two-run homer in the eighth made it 6-4 after Alex Rodriguez and Andruw Jones homered in the sixth and seventh. A-Rod's shot landed squarely inside the housing of the Mets' home run apple in centerfield.
Jon Niese (5-3) allowed two runs and eight hits in 61/3 innings to pick up the win. Andy Pettitte pitched well after the five-run first, allowing no runs and two hits in his final five innings. But he lamented that rough start, especially given that all five runs scored with two outs.
"It's just unacceptable," he said. "You talk about disappointing . . . You just can't put the team in that kind of a hole. That was the game. I blew it from the get-go right there."
After Mets centerfielder Andres Torres robbed Russell Martin of an extra-base hit with a running catch to begin the ninth, Francisco walked pinch hitter Raul Ibañez and Derek Jeter singled, bringing pitching coach Dan Warthen out for a visit. But Curtis Granderson struck out looking on an 0-and-2 fastball down the middle and Mark Teixeira popped to short as Francisco earned his 18th save.
"I didn't mean to hurt anybody's feelings," he said. "I made a simple comment and I think a lot of guys took it the wrong way. But I put everything in Jesus' hands and I asked Him to not let me do anything embarrassing out there."
"It was great," Niese said with a smile. "Never a doubt. When it comes to pressure situations, he's the guy we want out there."
The Mets batted around in the first, picking up five hits en route to winning their first Subway Series game in four tries this year.
After Lucas Duda flied out to shallow center with the bases loaded for the second out, Turner laced a 1-and-1 fastball up the middle for a single and a 2-0 lead.
On the next pitch, Davis lifted a drive into the rightfield corner. Swisher drifted back, leaped and got his glove on the ball, but it deflected off the tip of the glove and trickled over the bright orange line atop the "Wheat Thins" sign just to the left of the rightfield foul pole. "I just wasn't able to pull it in," he said. "Wish I could have. I just couldn't get up high enough."
Davis' eighth homer gave the Mets a 5-0 lead and continued his torrid stretch. He's batting .351 with three homers and 15 RBI in his last 12 games.
"It's just seeing the ball," Davis said. "Pick up the ball first before I start to swing.''
Cano's 15th homer, a two-run blast off Miguel Batista in the eighth, shaved the Mets' lead to 6-4. That set things up for Francisco to make good on his word after he said he "can't wait to face those chickens."
"The way we've been finding ways to win games," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, "you think that you have a chance there and you have a couple of home run hitters up. As we know, that's how we score our runs. So we thought we had a shot."