New York's National League team drew first blood in the Subway Series on this date in 2006. At the outset, the game looked like a huge mismatch in favor of the Yankees, what with the Bronx Bombers sending Randy Johnson to the hill to face Mets fifth starter du jour, Geremi Gonzalez. The Venezuelan junkballer did little to foster Flushing fans' hope of an upset, either, as he gave up two runs before recording the game's first out, four runs in the first, and six total before manager Willie Randolph finally hooked him following a Derek Jeter double to lead off the fourth.
The Mets, however, did hit a franchise-record 200 homers in 2006 and they used two to get back into contention. Carlos Beltran, being awesome at baseball, connected for a three-run shot in the bottom of the first. Xavier Nady, being awesome at baseball for the first half of '06, took the Big Unit deep for a two-run big fly that briefly tied the game in the third. Two innings later, Kaz Matsui retied things at 6-6 with a seeing-eye single and that's what the score would remain until the ninth.
Being a tie game at home, Randolph brought in closer Billy Wagner (to the strains of "Enter Sandman", which left Yankees fans most chagrined), who faced the heart of the Yankees order. Wags got leadoff batter Jason Giambi to flail at a 1-2 pitch for a swinging K and that set the template for the rest of the frame, as he'd overpower Alex Rodriguez and Kelly Stinnett in the exact same fashion. The Yankees countered with Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the inning, but for the first time in seven years, Mo couldn't get the job done. With one out, Paul Lo Duca lined a 1-2 double down the left field line, and after a Carlos Beltran K for out number two, manager Joe Torre chose to intentionally walk Carlos Delgado and go after David Wright instead. Much like the free pass Torre granted to Mike Piazza in the aforementioned link, the move backfired. The Mets' junior third baseman drove a ball into deepest part of Shea, well over center fielder Johnny Damon's head, for a walk-off single. Final score: Mets 7, Yankees 6.
- Rick Cerone, the Mets' primary catcher, is 59. Ten years earlier, Cerone recorded a 7" single entitled "A Long Run Home". According to Wikipedia, the song "is sung from the point of view of a Newark baseball player visiting a New York stadium during a snowstorm" and "failed to chart in the U.S." It's also nowhere to be found on YouTube. Weirdly, it seems the only way for anyone to have heard the song between its release and now was to call this toll-free number. Sadly, it's no longer in service.
- Turk Wendell turns 46. The only Met to don jersey number 99, Wendell was so superstitious about nines that in 2000, he signed a three-year contract extension with the Mets that had a total value of $9,999,999 and 99 cents. He was also worth the money, too, for the most part, as Wendell racked up 5.1 rWAR over five seasons.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Today's a big day in aviation history. On May 19, 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island to start his historic solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic. Five years later, Amelia Earhart did the same from Newfoundland to become the first woman to soar solo over the world's second largest ocean. The Mets have a few ties to aviation, too. The team, of course, plays its home games in the flight path of La Guardia Airport, and the franchise name almost reflected that. The Skyliners and the Jets were two options that lost out to the Metropolitans way back when in 1961.