Yanks can't catch up to Mets at Shea

Yanks can't catch up to Mets at Shea

NEW YORK -- A Saturday afternoon across the Triborough Bridge began in quite dismal fashion for the Yankees, and that was even before their starting pitcher was forced into the clubhouse and off to a hospital after just nine pitches.

Dim skies and steady rain pelting a tarpaulin-covered Shea Stadium turned out to be foreboding signs in a long day at the office for the Yankees, who endured an injury to starter Darrell Rasner and three errors by second baseman Robinson Cano as they suffered a crushing 10-7 defeat to the Mets.

The loss, the Yankees' seventh in their last nine games, wasted home runs by Cano, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez and dropped the Yankees to 18-23, five games under .500 and further back in an already staggering American League East deficit to the Red Sox.

"There's a lot of quality in that room, and right now, we're certainly not playing up to our expectations," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "The wins and losses show that."

The tone was set in the first inning, when the ninth pitch of Rasner's effort was smacked back to the mound by Endy Chavez, a one-hop grounder that fractured Rasner's right index finger.

Rasner attempted to throw four warmup pitches, testing his ability to remain in the game, but sharp pains shot through the hurler's nerves on the fourth offering, a splitter.

As Rasner hopped off the mound and down the clubhouse runway with Yankees trainer Gene Monahan, headed for a stint on the disabled list, lefty reliever Mike Myers got to fulfill a personal wish of sorts.

Myers had campaigned to make a start in Sunday's Subway Series finale, an assignment that eventually went to rookie callup Tyler Clippard, but there was Myers' chance to pitch in the first inning of a Major League contest.

Myers' faux start wasn't a dream, nor was it a Halloween nightmare -- it lacked the frightening music he enters to prior to his Yankee Stadium appearances -- but it wasn't pretty.

Myers served up a three-run home run to David Wright in the first inning and then allowed another two-run shot to the Mets third baseman in the third inning, lowlights in an effort that saw Myers charged with four runs and five hits in two innings.

"It's just one of those things," Myers said. "We've got to keep going. You feel for Rasner and what happened, and all the other guys that got hurt. But we've got to play the game and play nine innings. Once someone goes down, you've got to step up and do the job. I didn't do it."

Wright's second home run, a shot to deep center, bounced off the glove of center fielder Johnny Damon, smacking the palm of Damon's hand before popping in the air and over the fence.

"I had it, and I lost it," said Damon, who called the instants as Wright rounded the bases "probably one of the worst feelings" of his professional life.

But Damon's ill-fated jab wasn't even the most notable defensive miscue for the Yankees, overshadowed by the first three-error game of Cano's career, including an errant throw in the eighth on a Julio Franco grounder that allowed the Mets to score two important insurance runs and effectively squelch a late Yankees rally.

"What only matters is winning," said Cano, who insisted he was not frustrated. "Right now, if I made a play, it could be a tied game. Who knows? A different game."

Torre said that he was not concerned with Cano's focus. The second baseman's easygoing form has drawn criticisms in the past and hasn't been helped by a sluggish start at the plate for last year's third-place hitter in the AL batting race.

"It's just his style," Torre said. "I certainly don't think he doesn't pay attention or anything. It's just the way he plays. When he makes errors, it's going to look that way a lot of times."

The Yankees' offense, slumbering of late, managed 15 hits in the loss. Just three of their seven runs came off Mets starter Tom Glavine, who worked into the seventh inning and scattered nine hits. Cano slugged a solo home run leading off the second inning, after Damon walked in the first inning and scored on a fielder's choice.

Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a seventh-inning RBI single off Scott Schoeneweis, with the run charged to Glavine.

Rodriguez and Posada went back-to-back in the eighth inning with solo home runs off Schoeneweis, and Josh Phelps tacked on a RBI double before right-hander Aaron Heilman came on to induce Jeter to ground to third, leaving two runners aboard.

The Yankees added a run in the ninth inning off Billy Wagner, as the Mets closer allowed a pair of hits before spinning and making an ill-advised, wild throw home on an infield bouncer by Bobby Abreu.

But Wagner settled back in to strike out both Cano and Phelps representing the tying runs, sealing a series victory for the Mets and putting the Yankees in danger of suffering a series sweep on Sunday.

"We're definitely frustrated," Damon said. "We also know we're better than what we showed. It's time to create breaks for us and create a positive atmosphere."

Against their two largest rivals, the Mets and the Red Sox, the Yankees have gone just 1-7. More importantly, Saturday's loss dropped the Yankees to 11 games behind the Red Sox as Boston headed into the second game of a doubleheader against the Braves, marking a new low in Torre's tenure as the Yankees' manager. Boston's 14-0 loss in Game 2 cut the Yankees' division deficit from 11 games to 10 1/2.

"You're concerned about it, because it's obviously a large margin," Torre said. "But until we straighten out what we need to straighten out, standings are going to be insignificant."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.