NEW YORK – Francisco Lindor whistled at the Yankees, and sent the ball whistling over the wall – three times.
In the midst of a miserable first season with the Mets, Lindor kept alive his new team’s postseason chances and dropped its crosstown rival out of a playoff position.
He nearly set off a brawl when he taunted his opponents with a whistle after his second home run, then broke an eighth-inning tie with his third home run in a dramatic 8-7 victory on Sunday night in a heated Subway Series finale.
“Wow, what an amazing weekend,” the All-Star shortstop said. “It felt like playoffs, only hot.”
Lindor hit a three-run homer batting left-handed in the second off on a hanging breaking ball from rookie Clarke Schmidt, had a solo homer in the sixth hitting right-handed on a Wandy Peralta changeup, and broke a 7-7 tie from the left side on a fastball from Chad Green (7-7).
It was the first career three-homer game for Lindor, who is hitting .227 in his first season with the Mets.
While rounding the bases on his second homer, Lindor put a hand in front of his mouth, turned to the Yankees and made movements as if to whistle. That referenced the Mets’ belief that the Yankees had been whistling on Saturday in an attempt to tip their batters to Taijuan Walker‘s pitches.
“I can’t accuse them of whistling for the signs because I’m not 100%” Lindor said. “But I know what I heard and I felt there was something out of the ordinary going on.”
The chirping escalated when Stanton tied the score with a two-run homer in the seventh off left-hander Brad Hand. Stanton slowed to a walk after rounding second in his trot, turned his back toward third and started shouting with the shortstop. Both Lindor and second baseman Javier Baez waved at Stanton to come at them, and by the time Stanton reached the plate, players from both dugouts had spilled onto the field.
Bullpens emptied, too, and Brett Gardner gave the Mets a double thumbs down. By the time the next pitch was thrown, the delay had lasted nearly four minutes.
Hand couldn’t be replaced by a righty because Stanton was his third batter, a minimum Major League Baseball added to rules in 2020. Mets manager Luis Rojas elected not to walk Stanton with first base open and lefty-hitting strikeout-prone Joey Gallo on deck.
A crowd of 33,305 that appeared evenly split booed Lindor before his third homer, then turned to cheers and prompted Lindor to make a curtain call.
Gardner, who entered when Aaron Judge left in the third inning because of dizziness, struck out. James McCann‘s passed ball advanced the runners, and Stanton then hit a looper to Lindor that ended a 4-hour, 6-minute game.
Lindor said his performance didn’t quite make him feel like a New Yorker just yet.
“I don’t have the accent yet,” he said.
The Yankees lost for the 12th time in 15 games following a 13-game winning streak and dropped one game behind Boston and Toronto, who lead for the two AL wild cards.
The Mets went 4-2 against the Yankees this year and closed within three games for the second NL wild card but have three teams in front of them.
Stanton’s RBI double and Joey Gallo’s sacrifice fly built a 2-0 lead in the first off Carlos Carrasco. It was Gallo’s second sacrifice fly in 2,237 plate appearances.
Carrasco allowed two runs and three hits in five innings with four walks.
Schmidt gave up five runs – two earned – seven hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings. He was making his first big league appearance since last year; Schmidt’s season debut in the minors was delayed until July 26 due to a strained elbow. He walked in his first plate appearance since high school in 2014.
Schmidt tied the Yankees’ record of 58 players used, set in 2014, and he became their 15th starting pitcher, their most since 1989. Infielder Andrew Velazquez was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after hitting ,234 with six RBIs in 65 plate appearances.
Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (strained hamstring) will start Tuesday at Baltimore and RHP Domingo German (right shoulder inflammation) will make a minor league appearances Tuesday. … OF Clint Frazier won’t play for the Yankees again this season. He has not played since June 30 due to vertigo. … RHP Esteban Loaisiga (strained right shoulder) remains a few days from throwing.
Yankees: RHP Luis Gil (1-0, 1.42) starts Monday afternoon’s makeup game against visiting Minnesota and RHP John Gant (5-9, 3.78).
Mets: 41-year-old LHP Rich Hill (6-6, 3.82) starts Monday night’s series opener against St. Louis and 40-year-old RHP Adam Wainwright (15-7, 4,38), who is second in the major leagues in wins, two behind the Dodgers’ Julio Urias.