Judge HR in 8th sends Yankees over slumping Mets 4-3
NEW YORK (AP) — Once this Subway Series showdown turned into a game of home run derby, there was no doubt who was going to win.
The only real question: Who would go deep for the Yankees?
It was Aaron Judge, hitting a tiebreaking drive in the eighth inning that sent the Yankees over the Mets 4-3 Saturday night for their sixth straight victory in the all-New York matchup.
"Obviously, our team hits a lot of balls into the seats," winning pitcher David Robertson said.
Rookies Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar also homered at Citi Field, ensuring the Empire State Building would be sparkling in Yankees team colors. They have won four in a row overall and nine of 10.
The Yanks own baseball's best record (42-18) and lead with 103 home runs — on pace to break the major league mark of 264 hit by the Seattle Mariners in 1997. The Mets, meanwhile rank near the bottom with 62.
On a night when every run scored on a homer, the team with the power-packed lineup from top to bottom launched the winning longball.
"Who are you going to try to go after?" Judge said. "It's kind of fun to watch."
The Mets built a 3-0 lead on first-inning homers by Todd Frazier and Asdrubal Cabrera, but still lost their eighth in a row — their longest skid since an 11-game slide in 2004.
"I felt all night like we were going to win a game tonight," manager Mickey Callaway said.
The Mets have dropped 10 straight at Citi Field, their worst drought at home since losing a team-record 15 in a row at Shea Stadium in 2002, the Elias Sports Bureau said. Hall of Famer Mike Piazza was a member of that club, and he threw out the first ball in this game.
Judge grounded out with the bases loaded to end the fifth but later sent the first pitch from Anthony Swarzak (0-1) into the left-field seats.
Judge showed no ill effects from jamming his thumb on a slide Friday night during the Yankees' 4-1 win. Judge's 18th homer got the Yankees fans finally shouting louder than their Mets counterparts in a sellout crowd.
"We got a really good team that competes," Judge said. "Even if we get down early, we're always fighting. If we have a lead, we don't settle."
Robertson (5-2) pitched a scoreless seventh and Dellin Betances, the only player in this Subway Series born in New York, struck out the side in the eighth.
Aroldis Chapman, who has been bothered by tendinitis in his left knee, worked around two walks in the ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances. Yankees relievers have thrown 15 1/3 consecutive shutout innings.
Andujar's two-run homer in the sixth off Steven Matz made it 3-all. Torres connected for his 11th homer in the Yankees third.
Stuck in a scoring rut, the Mets rearranged their lineup — "We need to just shake things up," Callaway said before the game.
The new batting order provided an immediate payoff, too. Frazier, in the second spot for the first time this year, hit a solo homer, Brandon Nimmo tripled and Cabrera homered off rookie Domingo German.
In the end, it wasn't enough.
"Baseball's a funny game like that," Nimmo said. "We're just going to try and not sit around and wait for it, we're going to try and make things happen."
SLAMMING THE DOOR SHUT
Aaron Hicks led off the game with a drive to right-center field, and the ball bounded through a gate that had been left wide open and rolled into the Yankees' bullpen. Hicks was awarded a double.
"It's kind of one of those situations where before the game started, we'd like for everything to be locked up and done with. Who knows how that happened," Hicks said.
Hicks didn't stay at second for long. He was picked off the base by Matz.
The nearby Belmont Stakes was shown on the videoboard about a half-hour before gametime. Matz briefly held up his long tossing in the outfield, and several players on both teams paused their warmups to watch Justify win the Triple Crown.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka was put on the 10-day disabled list, a day after straining both hamstrings running the bases. Manager Aaron Boone said it's "very possible" Tanaka will be back before the All-Star break in mid-July.
Mets: OF Yoenis Cespedes, out since May 13 because of a strained right hip flexor, hit two doubles for Double-A Binghamton but was pulled early for precautionary reasons with tightness in his right quad. He'll be re-evaluated Sunday. This was his second rehab game.
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (9-1, 2.20 ERA) is 7-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his last 10 starts. He has a 0.00 ERA in 10 2/3 career innings vs. the Mets.
Mets: RHP Seth Lugo (1-1, 2.04) makes his second start and 23rd appearance of the season. He's been especially effective against lefty hitters, holding them to a .117 batting average (7 for 60).