Mets’ Montero Solid In Debut, But No Match For Tanaka
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Rafael Montero was simply outpitched in his major league debut by a fellow rookie with a much bigger contract.
Masahiro Tanaka tossed a four-hitter for his first career shutout and the New York Yankees got home runs from Yangervis Solarte and Mark Teixeira on Wednesday night, snapping a four-game skid with a 4-0 victory over the Mets.
“He’s outstanding, a great pitcher, and we saw that tonight,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “But I was real proud of the way Raffy stayed in there. A couple of home runs, but it should have been closer.”
“That’s a good pitcher, that’s the truth,” Montero said through a translator. “You’ve just got to admit it, that’s a good pitcher.”
Brian Roberts tripled twice and the Yankees finally beat their crosstown rivals after dropping six straight.
The Mets took all four Subway Series games last year and won two slugfests in the Bronx this week. Back home at spacious Citi Field, however, their bats went silent again as a three-game winning streak came to an end.
“You asked me about the home run barrage? We hit three of them tonight. They were just in the wrong park,” Collins said.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy said that’s just the way it is in Flushing.
“We know this ballpark,” he said. “All you can do is keep barreling the ball. That’s the way it goes.”
After the game, reliever Kyle Farnsworth confirmed he was cut by the team, though the Mets did not make an announcement. Farnsworth has time to decide if he wants to accept an assignment to Triple-A Las Vegas, but that’s not what he had in mind.
“I want to go to another team, because I want to pitch against this team,” he said. “Personally, I’m angered, also disappointed. I thought I did a pretty good job and was productive.”
The right-hander was 0-3 with a 3.18 ERA and three saves in 19 appearances.
Tanaka (6-0) overwhelmed the Mets with his vast assortment of pitches while spoiling Montero’s debut. The latest to arrive in a line of touted Mets pitching prospects, Montero threw six competitive innings but was no match for the $155 million rookie from Japan.
“In some ways, this is a David-and-Goliath matchup. One guy’s never lost and the other guy’s never pitched,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said before the game. “So, it’s interesting. We’ll see how many rocks Rafael’s got.”
Tanaka is 34-0 combined in Japan and North America over his last 42 regular-season starts. He did lose Game 6 of the Japan Series last year — before earning a save in Game 7.
The right-hander struck out eight and walked none, throwing 114 pitches during his first complete game in the majors.
“I knew what was coming, but I couldn’t hit it,” Murphy said. “He’s commanding all his pitches to all zones. The splitter is the equalizer. You don’t see it that much, someone using it in any count like that.”
Tanaka even singled in the ninth for his first major league hit — giving him one more than Mets pitchers have in 64 at-bats this season.
“Overall, I think that today was my best day,” Tanaka said through a translator.
He added: “I had in my mind that I wanted to go out there and win.”
Montero (0-1) allowed three runs and five hits. He struck out three and walked two after getting called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to step into the rotation slot previously held by Jenrry Mejia, who was moved to the bullpen Monday.
“I was comfortable from the first inning until I finished up. I felt really good,” Montero said. “I just kept trying to throw strikes. That’s the most important part for me.”
The slim right-hander fanned Derek Jeter in the third for his first strikeout.
“That was a good feeling. I felt really happy,” Montero said.
But he was hurt by his defense an inning earlier. With a runner on first and Tanaka on deck, left fielder Eric Young Jr. made an ill-advised dive in trying to catch Roberts’ sinking liner with two outs.
The ball got past Young and went to the wall, allowing Solarte to score as Roberts cruised in with his first triple.
“I got a little overaggressive right there in that situation, trying to make a play for the kid to get him out of the inning. Ended up hurtin’ him,” Young said.
Solarte, the AL’s leading hitter, sent a solo homer to right in the fourth. Teixeira lifted Montero’s second pitch of the sixth to right-center for his eighth homer.
Jeter’s infield single scored Brett Gardner in the seventh.
NOTES: The Mets plan to commemorate Jeter’s final regular-season Subway Series game Thursday. … The previous three starting pitchers to make their major league debuts for the Mets did not allow a run: Zack Wheeler, Collin McHugh and Matt Harvey. … A resurgent Ruben Tejada started at shortstop again over Wilmer Flores and went 0 for 3. “You’ve got to ride that wave,” Collins said. “This kid has really put his mind to producing.” Collins said his coaches told him Tejada, now batting .194, was “too hot to take out.”
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