Russell Martin Russell Martin Russell Martin

Martin’s walk-off boosts Yankees to sweep over Mets


Yesterday, in the Subway Series finale at Yankee Stadium, Russell Martin demonstrated that he has come full circle with a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, his second home run of the day as the Yankees beat the Mets 5-4 and swept the three-game series.

The New York Yankees signed Martin to a one-year/$7.5 million dollar contract in the offseason. His primary responsibility is of course to manage the pitching staff, but after a successful 2011 at the plate, the Yankees surely felt they’d get similar production in 2012. His work behind the plate has been just as good, but up until June 5th, Martin was hitting below the Mendoza Line, with four homers and twelve RBI. He was being questioned daily about his poor performance with the bat. Since, Martin has four homers and eight RBI, including yesterday’s two homers. For the time being any worries about his production at the plate should be put to rest.

The Yankees were being held down by Mets starter Jonathon Niese for a better part of the afternoon. He was throwing a shutout through the first six innings of the ball game. He had a comfortable lead throughout the game, as the Mets had scored three runs in the top of the second off Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte.

Vinny Rottino had a one-out RBI-single scoring Scott Hairston and Jordany Valdespin stroked a two-run double later in the inning driving in Rottino and Omar Quintanilla. Pettitte pitched six innings of three-run (two earned) ball allowing five hits, walking two and striking out eight. He seems to have survived a scare when he bare-handed a batted ball. He has bruising on his pitching hand, but feels confident that he will make his next start.

Niese was cruising through the seventh inning after Nick Swisher grounded into a double-play erasing Robinson Cano from the bases. But, the Mets defense would do him in. David Wright made a throwing error on a ground ball off the bat of Andruw Jones. Up stepped Martin, who drilled a fastball into right field which bounced off the top of the wall and into the seats cutting the Yankees deficit to 3-2.

Mets manager Terry Collins brought in set-up man Bobby Parnell in the bottom of the eighth. Parnell allowed four straight singles, the last one to Alex Rodriguez, was a pop up that dropped behind first base and gave the Yankees the lead. The Yankees couldn’t generate anything more in the inning, but it was enough to bring out closer Rafael Soriano.

Soriano has been key to the recent Yankees run, converting nine out of nine save chances since taking over for the injured David Robertson. The Mets figured out a way to kill that streak. Lucas Duda led off the inning with a double and Ike Davis tied the game with a double of his own. Quintanilla grounded to short and reserve, Jayson Nix, made a nifty play gunning Davis down at third. This proved to be a key play as pinch hitter Daniel Murphy singled in the next at-bat putting runners at the corners with one out. That was the end of Soriano’s day as Joe Girardi summoned Boone Logan to the mound. Logan did a great job, striking out Josh Thole and getting Kirk Nieuwenhuis to ground out softly to second base.

Martin came to the plate as the leadoff hitter in the ninth and was set to face embattled Mets reliever Jon Rauch. Martin worked the count to 3-2 and drove the sixth pitch of the at-bat into the left field seats giving the Yankees the win and Subway Series sweep.

The Yankees (34-25) moved a season high nine games over .500 and remained one-half game back of first-place Tampa Bay Rays and one-half game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East standings. The Yankees are on the road tonight to face the Atlanta Braves in the first game of a three-game set and part of a six-game road trip to the top two teams in the NL East.