“Stand clear of the closing doors.” In the final game of the Subway Series, it seemed the doors would never close.
Andrew Benintendi and Aaron Judge plagued the Mets for a second straight night and Clarke Schmidt gave the Yankees nine important outs to earn the win as the Yankees beat the Mets, 4-2 at Yankee Stadium last night in one of the wackiest and most thrilling games in the 26-year history of the Subway Series.
Judge slammed his 48th home run and had two big runs batted in. Benintendi had a third consecutive multi-hit game overall while he added his third RBI of the two-game series.
The Yankees won their third straight game for the first time since July 30 and ended up splitting the four games against their crosstown rivals, who refused to lose.
The game was tied at two in the seventh when Osvaldo Cabrera singled to lead off the inning against Mets’ reliever and former Yankee Joely Rodriguez.
After Isiah Kiner-Falefa sacrificed Cabrera to second, Jose Trevino pinch hit for Kyle Higashioka and hit a pop fly down the right field line. Pete Alonso ran down the line with his back to the infield and tried to make the catch, but he couldn’t handle it and the ball landed fair for a single. “I did the best I could to try and get there. It’s tough, I just couldn’t, couldn’t make a play,” Alonso said.
On an 0-1 pitch, Benintendi lined a single to left to score Cabrera with the go ahead run. Benintendi had two hits and two RBIs in the first game and had two more hits and an RBI in this one. The Yankee left fielder is 10 for his last 29 in his last eight games with five RBIs in the past three games, all wins.
Benintendi has given the Yankees what they’ve needed. Someone who could get a big hit when a single gets the job done. Add to that, the big home run he hit on Sunday to beat Toronto and Benintendi is starting to deliver in the clutch. “His bat to ball, that’s what we loved about him,” Yankee Manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s starting to happen and yeah, I do enjoy in a big situation, him coming up right now ‘cause he’s settling in.”
Former Yankee Adam Ottavino replaced Rodriguez and struck out D.J LeMahieu before Judge lined a 2-1 pitch into left field for an RBI single to score Trevino to give the Yankees a two-run lead.
The Mets were trailing 2-0 in the fifth when a two out single by Starling Marte plated Mark Canha with their first run but Brett Baty was thrown out at home by the rookie Cabrera, who was in right field, to end the inning and keep it a one run lead.
A head scratching play from the Yankees defense led to the game being tied in the sixth.
With two out and Alonso on first, Jeff McNeil lined a ball into the right center field gap that went to the wall. Alonso was sent home but stumbled between third and home.
The relay throw from Judge was perfect to Torres who saw McNeil between second and third. As Torres unsuccessfully tried to tag McNeil, who was going back to second, Alonso broke for the plate and scored the tying run.
Torres may have assumed that Alonso already scored because his first look was at McNeil. Nonetheless, that was a mistake by Torres and a missed opportunity by the Yankees’ defense.
Schmidt relieved starter Frankie Montas and stranded the go ahead run as he got Canha to ground out to shortstop.
The young Yankees’ right hander kept the Mets off the board in the seventh and eighth innings, so Yankee Manager Aaron Boone decided to roll the dice and ask Schmidt to get 10 outs and finish the game. The Yankees sent Schmidt to the minors to stretch him out for a potential starting assignment, so he was capable of providing length. “I was riding him,” Boone said.
Schmidt easily got the first two outs in the ninth but that’s when things got dicey.
Pinch hitter Tyler Naquin walked on a 3-2 pitch. After Brandon Nimmo ran the count to 3-2, he reached on an infield single that resulted because the Yankees were in a shift. Marte rallied from an 0-2 count to draw a walk and load the bases for Francisco Lindor.
Boone went to left hander Wandy Peralta to turn Lindor around, even though the Mets shortstop was 2 for 3 off of the Yankee southpaw. “Kind of up against it there and he [Peralta] came in and executed,” Boone said.
The Mets were down to their final strike for the fourth straight batter as Lindor was behind in the count, 0-2. After a couple of foul balls, including one down the left field line that just missed being fair, Peralta induced Lindor to fly out to center field to earn the save and end an agonizing ninth inning for both fan bases. Schmidt was appreciative that Peralta had his back. “Wandy came in saved my ass,” he said.
Montas had his best outing with the Yankees as he tossed 5 and 2/3 innings, while giving up two runs with six strikeouts.
Taijuan Walker set down the first nine Yankee hitters but he faltered in the fourth.
With two out, Judge smacked a 3-2 pitch deep into the left field bleachers for a 1-0 lead. The Yankee slugger has now hit four home runs in 11 at-bats off of Walker (including one off Walker earlier this year at CitiField in July), the most against any pitcher in his career. “We see that he [Judge] struggles with the sliders and the change ups. We were throwin’ it and we were having some success with it,” Walker said. “We thought we could maybe sneak a fastball in there, maybe get some weak contact but he’s a good fastball hitter.”
The home run seemed to rattle the Mets’ starter as he gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases. A walk to rookie Osvaldo Cabrera made it a 2-0 lead. For Cabrera, it was his first Major League RBI. Walker gave up two runs in five innings.
Judge enjoys playing the Mets. His home run gave him ten in 21 games against them. “He loves playing when the lights are bright,” said Boone.
The Mets completed a very rough stretch in which they played 27 games in 26 days and went 18-9. They went 4-6 on this ten game road trip and now lead the Braves by two games in the NL East. Even though they lost, the Mets once again showed, that, if healthy, they will be a very tough out in the playoffs.
On Thursday, the Mets open an important ten game homestand with four against Colorado. The Mets pushed Jacob deGrom’s next start back to Thursday so a good chance to get off on the right foot at CitiField. “We’ll go home and try to get things going again,” Showalter said.
This was a big, two game sweep for the Yankees who finished a rough home stand with a 4-5 mark. “Its been a tough stretch, we’re grinding. I think these wins can go a long way and kinda helping you build a little bit of confidence and get that swagger back a little bit, hopefully,” Boone said.
The Subway Series games rarely fail to live up to the hype, but could you imagine if these two end up in the World Series in October? “We hope that we do the things it takes to get a chance to hopefully come back to this place sometime, if we’re both there,” Showalter said.
We hope so too.