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Mets Take a Bite of the Apple

June 17, 1997|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Dave Mlicki and the Mets started the Subway Series with a curveball the Yankees and their fans never could have imagined.

On a historic, nostalgic, electric and somewhat surrealistic night, the Mets opened their interleague series with a 6-0 victory Monday night at Yankee Stadium.

Mlicki found the perfect moment to pitch the game of his career, giving up nine hits in his first shutout and complete game.

"He picked a great night to break through," Met closer John Franco said. "He owns the city for the night."

As do the Mets, who skipped a subway trip to Yankee Stadium and rode the bus to the famed ballpark instead. New York may be a two-team town, but for at least the next 24 hours it belongs to the club from Queens, even though both are 37-30.

"It's important for us to play well and try and steal a little thunder from them," Franco said.

John Olerud drove in three runs and left fielder Bernard Gilkey threw out two runners for the Mets.

Mlicki (3-5), who pitched two seasons in the American League for Cleveland, didn't let the Yankees get two runners on in any inning until the eighth.

"His hammer [curve] was just unbelievable," Met catcher Todd Hundley said. "He locked them up all night."

Andy Pettitte (8-4) gave up eight hits and five runs in seven innings. Joe Girardi had three hits for the Yankees, who lost for the first time in six home games.

"We really didn't mount much of an offense at all," Yankee Manager Joe Torre said. "And it all came down to pitching, and they pitched better than we did."

Yankee Stadium appeared to be evenly divided between the teams' fans, who alternated chants of "Lets Go, Mets!" and "Let's Go, Yankees" and kept the ballpark buzzing with a constant din throughout the night.

"That surprised me," Hundley said of the number of Met fans. "It was like 60-40. Sixty percent Yankees and 40 Mets. I saw a lot of blue, orange and white out there."

The Mets touched Pettitte for three runs in the first inning. Gilkey and Olerud hit consecutive one-out doubles to make it 1-0, and after a walk to Hundley, Butch Huskey singled to score Olerud.

With runners at first and third, Pettitte caught Huskey too far off first base. Huskey, though, got in a rundown and managed to avoid being tagged long enough to allow Hundley to score, sliding in just ahead of Pettitte's throw.

"Getting those early runs was important," Mlicki said.

Pettitte held the Mets in check over the next five innings before they loaded the bases in the seventh on two one-out singles and a two-out walk to Gilkey.

Olerud followed by slapping a two-run single to left to make it 5-0.

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