NEW YORK -- They honored Mariano Rivera. They gave the ball to Matt Harvey. But there's a basic truth that's never far away at Citi Field: it's always David Wright's house.
Denied three innings earlier when he had a chance to get Harvey off the hook, Wright wrote one more line on his robust résumé in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's 2-1 Mets win against the Yankees. Facing the legendary Rivera with a runner on second and no outs, Wright poked an RBI single to center field that tied the score.
He sneaked to second when Brett Gardner's throw got away from Chris Stewart, and he came home on Lucas Duda's game-ending single. Daniel Murphy started the rally and Duda finished it, but Wright was in the middle of it -- as he always seems to be.
It was Wright's 31st RBI in 44 career games against the Mets' crosstown rivals. He's a lifetime .323 hitter against the Yankees, and he's 3-for-8 with three RBIs against Rivera.
So while the Mets will say all the right things about having faith in everybody wearing the uniform, Wright is their best player and the guy they want up in a big situation. On Tuesday, they got their wish.
"At that moment, you kind of know he's somehow going to get a hit," Harvey said. "No matter what it is. Everybody's seen it enough. When you have a runner in scoring position, the game is on the line, you want that guy."
Wright quipped after the game that his strategy against Rivera was to close his eyes and swing hard, but he put together an awfully good at-bat against the Cooperstown-bound Yankee. He took two pitches that were just in off the plate to go up in the count, 2-0. Then Rivera put the third pitch ever so slightly closer to the plate and up a little bit, and Wright pounced.
When Gardner threw the ball off target and Stewart couldn't corral it, Wright turned the single into a double, easing Duda's job. Three pitches later, he had scored the winning run.
He had struck out to end the sixth against Hiroki Kuroda with a man on second. Against Rivera, he came through. All things being equal, though, he'd rather it have been against someone else.
"I don't want no part of that," Wright said with a smile. "I think he's the best -- I know he's the best to ever do it. ... That's not a comfortable at-bat. You just know that you might have a chance to get to him once in a career. To be able to do that is pretty special, especially with how great he's been."
It took an extra 90 minutes before the Yankees and Mets even took the field, thanks to day-long rains. Before the game started, the Mets honored Rivera in a ceremony commemorating his final regular-season game at Citi Field. The right-hander even threw out a ceremonial first pitch, a decision that drew some raised eyebrows considering that Rivera is still an active opponent.
And even once the game started, the night was supposed to belong to another Met. It was Harvey's first Subway Series start, and he was dealing. His fastball hit 98 miles per hour, his slider was sharp, and he stifled the high-scoring Yankees.
After eight innings, though, Harvey was done and the Mets were trailing, 1-0. Rivera came out to finish off the game he had ceremonially opened. But Daniel Murphy, Wright and Duda stood in the way. And with Wright at the middle of the group, it was not all that hard to envision a rally even against the great Rivera. Once Murphy got it going, the home dugout started to expect something special.
"I knew David Wright was going to get him to third base," manager Terry Collins said. "I knew he was going to get him over, and [then] it was about getting him in. So I got pretty excited."
Not as excited as they all got, two batters later, when the game was over. It was Harvey's day, it was Rivera's night, but it's always Wright's place.
Matthew Leach is a writer for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.