Mets score in ninth, halt Indians' win streak
CLEVELAND -- After missing a golden opportunity to take the lead in the eighth inning, the New York Mets cashed in on a ninth-inning rally to beat the Cleveland Indians 2-1 on Sunday.
Eric Young Jr.'s RBI double with two outs in the top of the ninth inning drove in the go-ahead run and the Mets snapped the Indians' four-game winning streak.
Matt den Dekker led off the New York ninth with a single against Cleveland closer Chris Perez (5-3). Anthony Recker's sacrifice bunt moved Dekker to second. Perez struck out Omar Quintanilla for the second out, but Young lined a double down the right-field line, scoring den Dekker.
Frank Francisco (1-0) pitched the eighth to get the win. LaTroy Hawkins worked the ninth to pick up his eighth save.
Both teams had the bases loaded in the eighth but couldn't score. The Mets had the bases loaded with one out, but Cleveland reliever Joe Smith struck out Justin Turner and retired Juan Lagares on a ground ball to end the threat.
"Smitty is one of the few guys who could get out of a jam like that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.
Daisuke Matsuzaka started for New York and pitched into the sixth inning, allowing one hit. Matsuzaka spent most of this season pitching for Cleveland's Triple-A Columbus affiliate.
Matsuzaka made 19 starts at Columbus and was 5-8 with a 3.92 ERA. The Indians released him on Aug. 20 and two days later he signed with the Mets.
"He was looking forward to this game," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Anytime you're traded, anytime you're released, you know you've got a little something to prove."
Matsuzaka needed a good start because he had not been very impressive since being acquired by the Mets. In his first three starts with New York, Matsuzaka was 0-3 with a 10.95 ERA.
He was a completely different pitcher on Sunday, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced and not allowing a hit until Nick Swisher singled leading off the fourth. Jason Kipnis then drew a walk, but with runners at first and second and no outs, Matsuzaka retired the next three batters to end the inning.
Cleveland scored its only run in the sixth when it knocked Matsuzaka out of the game. With two outs and nobody on, Kipnis singled and went to second on a walk to Carlos Santana. Jason Kubel then hit a line drive off Matsuzaka's chest that bounced toward second base. It went as an infield single, loading the bases.
Vic Black relieved Masuzaka, but Black hit Asdrubal Cabrera with a pitch, forcing in Kipnis with the tying run.
Matsuzaka pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up one run and three hits with six strikeouts and three walks.
"He pitched an outstanding game. I was really happy for him," Collins said.
Francona said, "He established early that he had a real good breaking ball that he could throw for strikes. He wasn't lighting up the radar gun, but that's the best by far we've seen of his breaking ball. He hadn't been commanding it real well coming in."
Indians DH Jason Giambi said Matsuzaka is a veteran who knows how to pitch.
"He was back to his old form today. He threw a lot of strikes and kept us off balance," Giambi said.
The Mets scored their first run on a homer by Turner leading off the fourth against Cleveland starter Danny Salazar. Salazar's pitch counts are being closely monitored, and he was removed after four innings and 80 pitches. Salazar gave up one run and four hits, striking out eight and walking two.
"He was having a hard time keeping the ball down and that caused his pitch count to get pretty high," Francona said. "The home run was an elevated fastball to Turner, who killed us the whole series."
In the three-game series Turner was 5-for-12 with two home runs and four RBIs.
NOTES: Young's 20 stolen bases since the All-Star break are the most in the majors. Young ranks third in the National League with 36 steals overall. ... RHP Greg Burke was recalled by the Mets from Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Giambi singled in the ninth inning for his 2,000th career hit. ... Indians OF Michael Bourn needs two more stolen bases to reach 300 for his career.