The lasting image from the Mets' 12-7 win over the Yankees Tuesday night in the second game of the Subway Series will likely be Daniel Murphy, standing at home plate, watching to see if his fifth-inning drive to right was going to be fair or foul.
Murphy's blast hit high off the foul pole at Yankee Stadium for a three-run home run and an 11-4 Mets lead.
In less than 14 innings over two nights, the Mets had scorched their intracity rivals for 20 runs and six home runs.
"Man, I didn't know if it was going to stay fair or not," Murphy said after the Mets beat the Yankees for the sixth straight time over the last two seasons in a game that took 3 hours, 58 minutes. "I wasn't trying to pimp it. I was just trying to give it some body English."
Or the lasting image might be Joe Girardi throwing a towel onto the field after getting ejected by plate umpire Jerry Layne between the fifth and sixth innings for (in the umpire's view) arguing balls and strikes. "I got thrown out and I have no idea why," said Girardi, who admitted he was not happy with strike calls to Yankees batters in the fifth. "I didn't say nothing . . . I'm shocked. I'm still shocked."
The series shifts to Citi Field Wednesday night with both teams 19-19, but they seem headed in different directions.
The Yankees have lost four straight. The Mets are feeling chipper after three wins in a row (other than Terry Collins jokingly claiming he spent "about $200" on parking in two days at Yankee Stadium).
Rafael Montero will make his big-league debut Wednesday night against undefeated Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka.
"It's not like we're buried," Girardi said. "But obviously, we have to right the ship."
"We played good baseball in these two games," said Murphy, who also had a sacrifice fly.
The only down note for the Mets was Zack Wheeler's outing. The second-year righthander was shaky in his 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs, seven hits and a career-worst six walks. Wheeler threw a career-high 118 pitches -- 64 strikes, 54 balls -- and was pulled before he could qualify for the win.
"When you walk 10 guys [overall], how you can say you won is amazing," Collins said. "But we did."
Yankees starter Vidal Nuño (1-1) was touched for four runs in the first inning and seven (five earned) overall in 3 1/3 innings. The trouble started when Nuño hit leadoff man Eric Young Jr. with a pitch and walked Murphy. David Wright followed with a single to drive in the game's first run.
One out later, Curtis Granderson lined a three-run homer into the lower deck in right, his second homer in two nights. Think the former Yankee was happy to be back hitting at Yankee Stadium instead of Citi Field?
Wheeler gave three runs right back. Mark Teixeira singled in the first run, then scored on Brian McCann's home run to make it 4-3.
The Mets added one in the third and two in the fourth, all charged to Nuño, with a throwing error by Yangervis Solarte in the fourth leading to two unearned runs; and four in the fifth against Alfredo Aceves, with the big blow being Murphy's homer.
Wheeler could not get through the bottom of the inning, though. He was replaced by Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-0), who got the win by allowing one run in 3 2/3 innings.