The Mets’ Michael Conforto thought the 3-2 pitch was low. The Yankees’ Dellin Betances thought it was at the knees.
Home plate ump Adam Hamari sided with Betances. So the reliever got one of the biggest outs of the night, striking out Conforto in a battle of All-Stars that ended the top of the eighth inning of the Yankees’ eventual 5-4 Subway Series win over the Mets at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees’ 4-0 lead had become 4-2 by the time Betances entered to pitch the eighth. After two outs, he walked Yoenis Cespedes, who eventually was wild-pitched to second. But it was the battle between Betances and potential tying-run Conforto that mattered. Betances went fastball, four breaking balls, 100-mph fastball.
“You’ve got to be careful obviously,” Betances said. “I put Cespedes on which you don’t want to do.
“Obviously Conforto is a tough hitter, so you can’t give him anything good. But I was just trying to mix off speed and fastballs.”
And on 3-2, catcher Gary Sanchez called fastball.
“I thought it was right at the knees,” Betances said.
“Honestly, I thought it was down, but I was looking for a fastball the whole time and saw that one come out of his hand down,” Conforto said. “He threw me first pitch fastball, four sliders and the fastball, I felt it was down, but obviously the call is the call.“I was looking for something I could go the other way with or hit in the gap and he gave me probably one good slider that I could have hit,” Conforto said.
“But in that situation it was a hitters’ count and I was looking for, he throws 100, so I figured he would try to use that.”
He did. Low or not, it worked.