NEW YORK (AP) — Jose Reyes took an angry swipe at the air with his arm, feeling responsible for the Yankees’ two baserunners in the fifth inning.
He made up for it, all right.
The All-Star shortstop turned in a sparkling diving stop on Alex Rodriguez’s grounder on the grass behind second base to end a rally and give a boost to R.A. Dickey and the Mets.
Daniel Murphy hit a go-ahead homer two pitches into the sixth inning, and the Mets shut down the Yankees for a 2-1 win in the Subway Series opener on Friday night in front of a surprisingly lackluster New York crowd.
“I had to make a play for Dickey, no matter how,” Reyes said.
Dickey (2-5) regained control of his knuckleball, allowing four hits over six innings. Justin Turner had three hits, including a tying double off Freddy Garcia (2-4) to give him an RBI in six straight games, and Francisco Rodriguez converted his 15th save in a row for the resurgent Mets (22-22), winners of 10 of 14.
“I’m really proud of the way the club has just held together,” manager Terry Collins said of the Mets, who were 5-13 on April 20 and are fielding a young lineup because of several key injuries.
Mark Teixeira homered for the Yankees, who have lost six straight at home for the first time since 2003.
K-Rod, pitching in the Mets’ fifth consecutive game, worked a 1-2-3 ninth. The bullpen put up three perfect innings in relief of Dickey, who delivered the latest strong outing after New York threw consecutive shutouts against Washington on Wednesday and Thursday.
“There really is no rhyme or reason to it,” Granderson said of Dickey’s knuckleball. “The ball is going to do its own thing.”
Only about two-thirds of Yankee Stadium was full for the first inning of the 15th regular-season Subway Series opener after it rained all day — the attendance of 47,874 was about 1,000 shy of a sellout. But much was different since the last time the teams crossed the city to face off: Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died, Core Four member Andy Pettitte retired and the club has been embroiled in off-field sagas worthy of the Bronx Zoo in the late 1970s.
The Mets fired manager Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya in an offseason house cleaning, borrowed $25 million from Major League Baseball, were served with a $1 billion lawsuit by the trustee charged with recovering money in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme and are seeking a minority owner for a cash infusion. Familiar faces Johan Santana, David Wright, Ike Davis and Angel Pagan are all on the disabled list.
Dickey had not won in eight starts since his first this season on April 3 and was having trouble keeping his knuckleball down. But on Friday, the pitch had the Yankees guessing.
“They were hitting pieces of it, a lot of foul balls, a lot of swings and misses,” Dickey said. “And that’s the knuckleball I’m used to.”
The one run he allowed would’ve been an out at spacious Citi Field. One pitch after Teixeira sent a shard of his bat flying toward second base on a foul ball, he lofted a third-inning drive that made it into the first row of seats in Yankee Stadium’s short right field — just over the glove of a leaping Carlos Beltran.
Filling in for Wright at third base, Turner sliced a run-scoring double to right in the fourth. He nearly had his 12th RBI over the six-game stretch in the sixth but his second double bounced into the stands, keeping the runner at third.
“Right now I’m not missing the mistakes, which is huge,” Turner said.
Reyes made his diving stop after Derek Jeter beat out an infield single to deep shortstop. That play came after Brett Gardner reached leading off the inning when first base umpire Jeff Kellogg ruled Reyes’ throw pulled Murphy off the bag for an error.
A night after the Mets benefited from an apparent bad call at first base that aided their 1-0 victory, replays showed Murphy was on the base and Gardner should have been out.
“The play Jose made, I thought it lifted us up, gave us energy,” Collins said.
The Yankees finished 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position — all against Dickey.
“Whenever you face a knuckleballer, you’re really not sure what’s going to happen, because it’s not something guys face every day,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We had some opportunities, but as I said, when you face a knuckleballer, it’s not something you see very often, and it’s a totally different day for all of our hitters.”
NOTES: Garcia gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings. … Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez did not have his hip examined as was planned. Girardi did not know when another appointment would be scheduled. … Yankees LHP Pedro Feliciano, sidelined since spring training because of a torn capsule in his shoulder, says he’ll try throwing in early June. … Wright (lower back stress fracture) had an imaging test on his back. He hopes to be back when he’s eligible to return from the DL on May 31.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)