Mets top Yanks 6-3 in Subway Series matchup of leaders

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Eduardo Escobar hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer that capped a four-run, first-inning rally, and the New York Mets beat 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 followed 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 against 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 RBIs, 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.

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 Diaz 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 Diaz dropped the ball for an error while throwing to second on Judge’s comebacker. Diaz 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 allowed 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.

DOUBLE REPLAY

The teams split video reviews in the seventh when Rizzo was given a hit by pitch on a overturned call and then was caught stealing on a call that was upheld.

CANHA – LIKE BANANA

Wearing an ESPN microphone during Sunday night’s game, Mets outfielder Mark Canha said his last name probably should be pronounced “Khan-ya” since it is of Portuguese origin. Not so, said his wife, Marci.

“Don’t get me wrong, if we moved to Lisbon tomorrow, then yes, we would pronounce it the way ‘NH’ is properly pronounced in Portuguese,” she tweeted. “Until then, it rhymes with banana.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton was put on the 10-day IL because of left Achilles tendinitis, a move retroactive to Sunday.

UP NEXT

RHP Domingo German (0-1, 15.00 ERA) starts for the Yankees after allowing five runs over three innings at Houston in his season debut. RHP Max Scherzer (6-2, 2.28) is 1-1 with a 1.78 ERA since returning from a strained oblique muscle in his left side.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.