When you're playing good baseball, this is how you build winning streaks.
It's not always going to be flashy, there won't always be tape-measure blasts or 13-strikeout efforts. Sometimes you just grind it out, which is exactly what the Yankees did in a 5-1 win over the Mets in the opener at Citi Field on Friday night.
The Yankees have now won six straight. They are 15-4 since being swept at home by the Red Sox last month.
It might not go down as the most memorable game in Subway Series history, but that doesn't matter to the Yankees, who maintain their 2.5-game lead in the AL East.
The Yankees jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and stayed ahead the rest of the way. Mark Teixeira continued to be a monster run-producer, driving in two runs with a double of losing pitcher Jonathan Niese. Robinson Cano drove in Teixeira with another double.
Ivan Nova wasn't particularly sharp, but he pitched effectively with men on base to pick up his eighth win of the season. He allowed one run on seven hits in five innings, throwing 89 pitches.
He could've went deeper, but Joe Girardi lifted the right-hander for pinch-hitter Jorge Posada in a bases-loaded situation in the top of the sixth (Posada struck out). Girardi then used six different pitchers to take the Yankees home, including the downright baffling decision to summon Mariano Rivera in a non-save situation in the ninth.
(You cannot tell me The Binder said that was the right move.)
The most memorable moment in the game occurred in the seventh inning. With the Yankees leading 3-1, Jose Reyes (2-for-5, .352) led off the frame with a single off Cory Wade. Justin Turner followed with a flyball to deep center that was caught by Curtis Granderson. Reyes tagged and slid safely into second, and when Eduardo Nunez didn't field the relay cleanly, Reyes took off for third. Nunez's strong throw beat Reyes to the bag and Rodriguez tagged out Reyes to complete a double play.
At least according to home-plate umpire Jerry Layne, who had rotated over to the bag to make the call. Replays were inconclusive, though the SNY crew were absolutely certain Reyes had evaded the tag. (I think Keith Hernandez's head exploded at one point.) It would be the last time the Mets threatened in the game.
The seven Yankees pitchers allowed 10 hits, but the Mets were never able to get a big hit when it counted, dropping their record back to .500 at 41-41 in the process. The Yankees are now 49-31, which trails only the Philadelphia Phillies for the best record in baseball.
- That high wall in left-center field at Citi Field is a joke. A-Rod hit an absolute bomb in the ninth inning that would've been a homer in any other park in the league. Instead, he had to settle for an RBI double. The Mets will have difficulty signing power hitters for generations unless they make changes to the dimensions.
- Nunez might be a mess defensively, but the young man can hit. The shortstop had his best day as a pro, going 4-for-4 to bump his average from .234 to .261.
- The game marked the largest crowd in Citi Field history with 42,020 paid customers. This is why interleague play will never disappear.
- Speaking of attendance, according to an unscientific estimate by WFAN mid-day guy and Met die hard Evan Roberts, the crowd was only 55/45 in favor of the Mets.
"That's three." -- A-Rod to Teixeira after the game. Tex saved A-Rod three errors on low throws tonight. To A-Rod's credit, he made a couple of great throws as well. Busy night at the hot corner.
- Just for fun, here are the Yankees' record through July 1 the past five years — 2010: 48-30; 2009: 45-32; 2008: 44-40; 2007: 38-41; 2006: 45-33.
Dan Hanzus is a regular contributor to Pinstripe Alley. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @danhanzus.