Eduardo Escobar hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer that capped a four-run, first-inning rally, and the New York Mets defeated the Yankees 6-3 Tuesday night in a rare Subway Series matchup of first-place teams.
Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo quieted many of the 42,364 fans at Citi Field in the first inning with opposite-field home runs on consecutive pitches from Taijuan Walker (8-2).
But the Mets stormed right back in the bottom half when Starling Marte homered with one out against Jordan Montgomery (3-3). Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso permitted with back-to-back doubles, and Escobar’s two-run, two-out homer put the Mets ahead 4-2.
The Mets, who won four of six games versus the Yankees last year, held on for a victory before just their third home sellout this year, what they hoped is a World Series rehearsal. Both teams had been in first place when they met in only one previous season, a three-game series from April 24-26, 2015, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“If we’re playing against each other in November, that would be awesome,” Alonso said. “If that happens, the city will just be on fire.”
Two of baseball’s big boppers went head to head. Judge’s major league-high 38th home run gave him 82 RBI, tying for the big league lead. Alonso surged back ahead with his 83rd in the bottom half and went 3 for 3 with a walk. The Yankees arrived a big league-best 66-31 with a 12 1/2-game AL East lead. The Mets had the second-best National League mark at 59-37 and a two-game NL East edge over Atlanta.
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Former Met and Yankee Darryl Strawberry threw out a ceremonial first pitch.
Chants of “Let’s Go Mets!” started 10 minutes before the first pitch and the Yankees were booed when their lineup was announced.
“This year, obviously, seems even bigger with both teams doing as well,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “During a 162-game season, the grind of it, these kind of series, especially as we enter the dog days of summer and things like that, are series that gives give guys a little shot in the arm, a little life.”
Walker improved to 5-0 in his last eight starts, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings.
Adam Ottovino got five outs, and Edwin Díaz struck out four for his 22nd save in 25 chances.
The Yankees put two on with one out in the ninth when Jose Trevino reached on an infield hit and Díaz dropped the ball for an error while throwing to second on Judge’s comebacker. Díaz struck out Rizzo and Gleyber Torres.
Montgomery, 0-2 in last seven starts, allowed five runs — four earned — and five hits, needing 71 pitches for seven outs. When Boone came to the mound to remove him, he stared at his manager and appeared to mouth: “Why?”
The Yankees went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and hurt themselves with a pair of outs on the bases: Isiah Kiner-Falefa was picked off in the first and Rizzo was caught at second on an attempted double steal in the seventh.
Judge and Rizzo combined for the Yankees’ 14th back-to-back homers, tying the team record set in 2009. The drive into the right-field bullpens made Judge 10 for 20 with five homers in a span of 20 at-bats. Rizzo ended a 14-game homerless streak with his 23rd this season.
Walker had not previously permitted a home run at Citi Field this year
The Mets opened a 5-2 lead in the third when third baseman Josh Donaldson hit Francisco Lindor with a throw near first base, and the ball caromed into right field as Marte scored from second.
The Yankees got a run back on DJ LeMahieu’s RBI grounder in the fourth but left the bases loaded when Rizzo flied out to Brandon Nimmo a step in front of the center-field wall.
Jeff McNeil ended an 0-for-19 rut with a run-scoring single off Albert Abreu in the eighth.
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