NEW YORK (AP) It took nearly four months for Carlos Rodón to begin paying dividends for the New York Yankees.
Rodón earned his first victory in four starts with his new team and the Yankees got an offensive spark from Harrison Bader in beating the New York Mets 3-1 on Wednesday night for a two-game split of their Subway Series.
“I would have taken it about three starts ago, but I guess it’s nice to have it now," Rodón said. “It’s good to get that first one out of the way. It’s something I want to build off."
Bader had three hits and scored twice at Yankee Stadium, including an aggressive dash and headfirst dive into home plate. Rodón (1-3) outpitched fellow lefty José Quintana before four Yankees relievers combined to retire all 10 batters they faced.
Clay Holmes worked the ninth inning for his 14th save in 17 chances, giving the last-place Yankees (54-48) a four-game split of the season series with the Mets (47-54). The crosstown rivals also split two games last month at Citi Field.
It was an encouraging outing for Rodón, off to a rough start with the Yankees after signing a $162 million, six-year deal as a free agent in December. The two-time All-Star missed the first three-plus months of the season because of forearm and back injuries, then compiled a 7.36 ERA while losing his first three starts.
Last week in a road game against the Los Angeles Angels, he sarcastically blew a kiss toward a fan while walking to the dugout after the second inning.
This time, a fired-up Rodón allowed one run and four hits in 5 2/3 effective innings. He lobbied to stay in, but manager Aaron Boone had already made his decision.
“A really big outing for him and us,” Boone said. “It’s not been an easy road here since spring training and trying to get back. I think that’s hurt because he wants to be out there. He knows he was brought here to be a big, big part of this team and it took longer for him to get back than he would have liked and I think that ate at him a lot. But he’s here now and hopefully he continues to build momentum off this one.”
Rodón struck out four, walked three and received a warm hand from Yankees fans in the sellout crowd of 46,761 as he came off the mound.
“It was nice to hear the fans happy with the performance,” he said.
After getting hit in the back by a 95 mph fastball from Rodón, Mets right fielder Jeff McNeil made a couple of excellent catches - robbing Gleyber Torres of a home run with a leaping grab in the fifth.
Torres' first-inning single extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games, longest by a Yankees player this season.
Some outstanding baserunning helped the Yankees score twice in the second.
With one out, Anthony Volpe got a great jump and beat third baseman Mark Vientos' throw to second on Oswald Peraza's RBI grounder. The speedy Bader then scored by a wisp with a headfirst dive on Isiah Kiner-Falefa's shallow sacrifice fly to right, where McNeil made a sliding catch before popping up for a strong throw to the plate.
“I was just saying to myself if he slides, I’m gonna go. I’m just gonna make him make a play,” Bader said.
Brandon Nimmo had a sacrifice fly in the third, but Rodón prevented further damage by retiring Pete Alonso on a line drive to left with two runners aboard.
Rodón also struck out Alonso with two on to end the fifth. Alonso, who had two homers and five RBIs in the series opener, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
Bader scored again in the fourth on Volpe's single to make it 3-1 after a costly throwing error by Vientos.
“We’re not in the best spot right now so we need to play good baseball and do it quick," McNeil said.
Quintana (0-2) was charged with three runs - two earned - and six hits over six innings in his second start for the Mets. The veteran left-hander missed the first 3 1/2 months of the season following rib surgery.
“Bent but didn’t break,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He knows how to pitch.”
Mets: RF Starling Marte (migraines) is feeling better and working out, but Showalter said he doesn't anticipate the team activating Marte from the injured list Thursday when he becomes eligible because his wife is due to give birth very soon. ... McNeil fired his helmet away in frustration after getting drilled by Rodón's fastball in the fourth. He was shaken up and checked by an athletic trainer. Rodón apologized to McNeil when the two crossed paths later in the game. ... Tommy Pham (groin) was back in the lineup at DH after sitting out Tuesday.
Yankees: RF Aaron Judge (toe) returned to New York after playing another simulated game at the team's complex in Tampa, Florida. Boone hasn't ruled out Judge coming off the injured list Friday in Baltimore.
Mets: Return home to Citi Field for a four-game series against last-place Washington. In a matchup of All-Star pitchers, rookie RHP Kodai Senga (7-5, 3.27 ERA) starts Thursday night versus Nationals RHP Josiah Gray (7-8, 3.45).
Yankees: Following an off day, All-Star RHP Gerrit Cole (9-2, 2.78 ERA) goes Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at AL East-leading Baltimore.
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