05/19/08 1:25 AM ET
Overturned call can't motivate Yanks
Saved from more damaging fourth, Wang allows seven runs
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Did it sting a little, watching that mini-celebration of a two-game Subway Series sweep play out? You bet.
But for manager Joe Girardi, the Yankees' 11-2 loss to the Mets meant something more than bragging rights. Urging that the blame for the slow start be pinned on him, Girardi needs his team to get in gear and start digging out from its sub-.500 opening to the season.
"People are going to talk about the 20-24 record, but it's not about that anymore, because that's behind us," Girardi said. "It's what you start doing on Tuesday."
The Yankees can look ahead because, quite frankly, there isn't much worth looking back at. Chien-Ming Wang started on the home side on Sunday and, by the time the evening had progressed into the late hours, he was resting glumly in the dugout with seven new runs bloating his ERA.
Ryan Church and Jose Reyes slugged late homers to push the game into blowout territory, and Mets left-hander Oliver Perez was last seen leaping over the third-base line, doffing his cap to a decidedly pro-Mets crowd after 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball.
"They had reason to be out there cheering tonight -- they were kicking our butts," Johnny Damon said. "It was pretty embarrassing. We're definitely much better than what we're showing right now."
Those in the stands might not have felt the same way, but Derek Jeter said it didn't make any difference losing to the Mets. It was still all the same flavor of sour.
"To me, it's black and white," Jeter said. "You win or you lose. It doesn't feel better if you lose to Tampa [Bay], as opposed to the Mets. I don't think it makes a difference."
The Yankees have lost five out of their last six games, suffering just the second sweep by the Mets at Yankee Stadium since Interleague Play began in 1997. They don't want to pin it all on Alex Rodriguez, who is expected to return to the Yankees' lineup on Tuesday against the Orioles, but they'll take some more offense wherever they can get it.
"It's been a very difficult week for us," Wang said through an interpreter. "Hopefully the pitching will get better, hopefully the hitting will get better. ... Hopefully we can turn the switch on right away. Every week is different."
The right-hander followed a model set by Andy Pettitte a day earlier, when he pitched strong ball -- perfect, in fact -- through the first three innings before running into trouble in a four-run fourth.
Though his defense didn't help out, Wang allowed four runs on four hits in that decisive 35-pitch fourth inning, damage that could have been greater if the umpiring crew didn't reverse what appeared to be a three-run Carlos Delgado homer, ruling it a foul ball, even though it struck the black base of the left-field foul pole.
"Very unusual," Girardi said of Wang's outing. "It's not what we've been accustomed to seeing this year."
Despite the scoring revision, the Mets still got their hacks in. With help from a ball that skipped by a diving Alberto Gonzalez at third base, the Mets loaded the bases when a throw from Jason Giambi pulled Jeter off the second-base bag, giving Church a run-scoring fielder's choice.
Moises Alou then stroked a two-run single to right and, after his homer was rescinded, Delgado delivered an RBI single through the right side to make it 4-0 Mets.
"He kept the ball up a little bit and couldn't get it down," catcher Jose Molina said. "He got a couple of pitches up and just got hit. It's not pretty usual [for Wang] because he's a sinkerballer. He gave us a chance still, throwing [7 2/3 innings] to give us a chance. We couldn't score anyway."
Perez allowed a hit to Jeter in the fourth and then served up a two-run homer to Hideki Matsui, the slugger's sixth, to account for what would be the Yankees' offense. But the Mets continued to pepper Wang with hard-hit drives.
Church led off the sixth with a solo homer to straightaway center and, after David Wright's eighth-inning double, Alou lifted a sacrifice fly to right that scored the Mets' sixth run. Brian Schneider tacked on the final run charged to Wang with a hit to right off Ross Ohlendorf.
Wang took his second loss in three starts, charged with seven runs on six hits while walking three and striking out one in 7 2/3 innings. He fell to 22-8 in 37 starts immediately following a Yankees loss, the third consecutive time that New York has not won a Wang start.
"It is upsetting, because I know we are better than this," Wang said.
Perez also worked 7 2/3 innings, allowing just the two runs on three hits -- walking two and striking out four -- as the Mets won both games of the rain-shortened Yankee Stadium portion of the Subway Series, to be completed next month likely as part of a two-stadium doubleheader.
By that time, the Yankees could have changed the landscape some, having regained Rodriguez's services and also those of catcher Jorge Posada, whose duties were limited on Sunday to playing catch in the outfield and squatting for a bullpen session.
Given the way the series turned out, any representation of a different-looking team would be a welcome change. Girardi urged his team to think of the schedule in small bites from here on out, but he couldn't hide his disappointment that his maiden campaign at the helm had begun so choppily.
"There's a lot of things I thought would be different," Girardi said. "I thought our record would be better, but it's not. But it's not about those 44 games. It's about the next 118, and it's really about the next one, starting on Tuesday."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.