In lieu of seven-day-old echoes from his no-hitter, Johan Santana heard noises of a different kind Friday night. Pitch after disastrous pitch, he heard wood tearing into baseballs, a crowd tapping into its lung capacity.
Carnivores feasting on a carcass, the Yankees sensed blood and turned their teeth to Santana. Santana gave up four home runs Friday night as the Yankees clobbered the Mets, 9-1, in front of a sold-out crowd of 48,566 at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano had two of those homers and starter Hiroki Kuroda (5-6) carried a no-hitter into the sixth.
Kuroda's brilliance aside, the opening chapter of this rivalry will remembered for those four long balls, each one a warning flare that the Yankees may still be the lead horse in this town.
The early, pivotal moments of Friday's game resembled home run derby: Santana's pitches were missing something and the Yankees' bats were missing nothing.
One week after tossing a near-flawless nine innings, Santana made it just four batters deep before allowing a hit. And this hit came accompanied with thunder.
Cano was wielding the most dangerous stick, his bat taking advantage of two of those Santana misfires. After Santana walked Alex Rodriguez to start the second, Cano buried a ball into the right field seats. It put the Yanks up 2-0.
"That's a guy you want to go and be aggressive because you don't want to get behind the count," Cano said. "He's got some great pitches."
Santana slipped out of the second, then got crushed in the third. Cano rang the opening bell, returning to the same section of the park where he put his second-inning shot. It started a bing-bing-bing game of pinball that ended only after three Yankees homers and four Yankees runs.
Moments after Cano blasted his second homer over the right field wall -- giving the Bombers a 4-0 lead -- Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher took aim at the other corner of the park. He rocked a 2-0 pitch high above the wall to make it 5-0.
And before Santana could collect what was left of his fastball and changeup, Andruw Jones made it 3 for 3. Jones punched a 2-2 pitch into the seats. When it landed, the Yankees were sitting pretty, coasting on a 6-0 cloud.