Whitley sets stage before Soriano seals win for Yanks
Betances brings dazzling relief; first 1-0 final in Subway Series history
NEW YORK -- It was Derek Jeter's last ride in the Subway Series, and the Yankees captain watched the final four outs from the top step of the dugout, having been double-switched out of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning.
There were no complaints from Jeter, especially because this was a good one to have a front-row seat for. Some of the freshest faces in town took the spotlight instead, as Chase Whitley and Dellin Betances shut the Mets down in a 1-0 victory on Thursday at Citi Field.
"I grew up watching the Subway Series," said Betances, who struck out a career-high six batters over 2 1/3 innings to pick up the win in relief. "They took two from us at home, and yesterday [Masahiro] Tanaka was brilliant. I was happy we came away tied 2-2."
The Yankees and Mets split this season's Subway Series at two games apiece. The Mets won both games played in the Bronx earlier this week, and the Yankees returned the favor with two shutout victories in Flushing.
Thursday marked the first 1-0 final in the history of the Subway Series. The only run scored in the seventh inning, as Brian McCann chugged home from first base on Alfonso Soriano's seventh-inning double, denting Jacob deGrom's big league debut.
Four homegrown Yankees -- Whitley, Betances, Adam Warren and closer David Robertson -- combined to hold the Mets to three hits in the shutout, striking out 14. Robertson locked down the final four outs for his seventh save.
"We have some power at the back end, and when you have that, you're going to get strikeouts," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Those strikeouts can be extremely important."
Whitley, a 24-year-old right-hander, pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in his Major League debut. His contract purchased from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier on Thursday, Whitley permitted just two hits in what he called "the chance of a lifetime."
McCann said that it "didn't look like he had any nerves at all" in the bullpen, but Whitley said it wasn't quite so simple; he felt "pretty nervous" with about two dozen friends and family members in the seats. Adrenaline quickly wiped away those jitters.
Whitley pitched out of trouble in the third inning and sailed into the fifth, where he began to show signs of fatigue and issued a pair of one-out walks.
"I said, 'Hey, it's just a little kid's game again,'" Whitley said. "After I got a couple innings under my belt, I was able to just remember that I was playing a game I've been playing since I was 5 years old."
A sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third, and Girardi came out of the dugout to cut Whitley's outing short at 74 pitches. Betances entered and extinguished the fire, getting Eric Young Jr. to ground out.
Betances then turned in a dominant relief outing, striking out the next six hitters he faced.
"I'm just trying to make pitches," Betances said. "At that point, the game is still close. I'm just like, 'Let's get ahead.' If I can get ahead, I know I can put some guys away. Today was one of those days I was able to do that, and I'm just glad I got the win."
Thirty-nine of Betances' 67 outs this season have come via the strikeout.
"My impressions? I'm glad I don't have to see him for a while," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
A promising right-hander, deGrom was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas and held the Yankees to three hits through the first six innings, but McCann reached on a seventh-inning fielder's choice and came home on Soriano's double to the left-center-field gap.
Both teams threatened in the eighth, with three Mets relievers combining to leave two men on. The Mets then placed runners at the corners with two outs against Adam Warren, as Girardi double-switched Jeter out of the game and brought in Robertson.
"I just told him, I'm going to make a double-switch," Girardi said. "It's where we are in the lineup; that's how you do it. He understands."
Robertson got David Wright to ground out to shortstop Brendan Ryan, stranding the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base. Robertson later said that he didn't even realize Jeter was out of the game until he whirled and saw Ryan smoothly fielding the ball.
It was a complete experience for both Whitley and deGrom, who each logged third-inning singles in their debuts.
"That was awesome," Whitley said. "I hit a little bit in college, and I was bragging about my hitting before the game. Fortunately I got a good pitch to hit and went the other way. But then I gave one right back to that guy, so both of us are doing pretty good in that department."
The contest marked the first time that both starters were making their Major League debuts in the same game since Sept. 7, 2010, when the Mets' Dillon Gee faced the Nationals' Yunesky Maya in Washington.
Girardi said that Whitley "didn't do anything to deserve not to make the next start," so the Yankees will look forward to seeing what he can do with a second turn through the rotation.
"Especially as a pitcher, with the nerves to come in here and execute his pitches like he did today, man, I tip my hat," McCann said. "It was a great performance."