Castillo rebounds after dropped popup
NEW YORK -- Luis Castillo was still shaky when he arrived at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. His dropped popup was splashed across the New York tabs, and the Mets second baseman had spent a restless night waiting for his next game.
Hours later, he felt much better.
Castillo had two hits and was flawless defensively in the Mets' 6-2 victory over the New York Yankees, bouncing back after his embarrassing error Friday night cost his team a win.
"I think a lot about the game and say, 'You know, forget about it. That's in the past. Today, that's a new game and be ready,'" Castillo said.
Castillo got a fairly warm welcome before he grounded out in his first at-bat -- the three-time All-Star said afterward he heard Yankees fans thanking him for Friday night's victory. He singled in the second and eighth, and handled all of his chances in the field with ease -- including a nice stab on Hideki Matsui's second-inning liner in a steady rain.
"I was happy to see the way he responded today," manager Jerry Manuel said.
Castillo's solid effort was a welcome sign for the Mets after Friday night's difficult ending.
The normally sure-handed second baseman flubbed Alex Rodriguez's two-out popup in the ninth inning, letting Derek Jeter score from second and Mark Teixeira from first and giving the Yankees a wild 9-8 victory in the series opener.
"He missed it and it cost us the game, period," Manuel said before Saturday's win. "But we have to move on."
That's exactly what Castillo was hoping for, too. The ugly miscue led to headlines like "AMAZIN' DISGRACE," and "SUBWAY MIRACLE," and came in the middle of his bounce-back season.
"I say, 'Let me play my game. Let me still play my game and do the best that I can,'" Castillo said about bouncing back from the error.
Castillo, a three-time Gold Glove winner from 2003-05 with Florida, is batting .281 with seven steals and 34 runs in 52 games this season. He had the winning hit in a 5-4 victory over Milwaukee on April 17, washing away some of the bad memories from his lackluster 2008 season.
But that seemed like a long time ago after his fifth error of the season handed a victory to the Mets' crosstown rivals. Castillo kept drifting toward the foul line and allowed the ball to pop out of his glove as he tried for a one-handed catch on the right-field grass.
Not that he was interested in going over the details.
"I didn't look at a replay because I feel bad," he said before Saturday's win. "Like I was saying last night, I feel bad."
The unusual ending was the latest in a series of crazy plays across baseball. Cleveland beat Kansas City 4-3 in 10 innings on Thursday night when Shin-Soo Choo's winning single hit a low-flying gull and got past center fielder Coco Crisp. Cubs slugger Milton Bradley flipped the ball into the stands after catching Joe Mauer's one-out sacrifice fly in a 7-4 loss to Minnesota on Friday.
The Mets have made a couple of mistakes on routine plays this year. They lost to Florida on April 12 when left fielder Daniel Murphy dropped Cody Ross' fly ball. And on May 18 they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers after Ryan Church missed third base en route to not scoring the go-ahead run in the 11th inning.
Castillo batted .245 with just 11 extra-base hits last season, failing to live up to the $25 million, four-year contract he agreed to in November 2007.
His game-ending error was a surprise to more than just the Yankees and Mets. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he never saw Castillo miss a popup during his one-plus years with Minnesota.
"It's just unfortunate," Gardenhire said before the Twins beat the Cubs 2-0 at Wrigley Field on Saturday. "I would put my stock in Luis Castillo catching fly balls. That's why this grand game is unbelievable -- stuff like that can happen to a Gold Glover. Incredible."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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