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.

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

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ATLANTA — Matt Olson knew the Atlanta Braves were too talented to stay in a season-long slump.

That’s why no one panicked when the New York Mets’ division lead swelled to double digits in May. Now the Braves are on the cusp of another NL East title.

“It’s a clubhouse full of guys who want to win,” Olson said. “That’s all it’s been since the moment I walked in. That’s No. 1 on the program.”

Dansby Swanson and Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Braves beat New York 5-3 on Sunday night, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closes out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

“We’ve felt this confidence since the beginning of the year,” d’Arnaud said. “It just didn’t go our way early in the year, but pulling on the same rope, having each others’ backs, not trying to do too much. We’re just trying to play the game of baseball and have fun with it.”

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

“We still have three games left in the regular season, we’re still going to the postseason, that doesn’t change, but there’s a lot of learning points that we can take from this series moving forward,” Mets slugger Pete Alonso said. “I thought we played well, but the Braves played better. They played excellent baseball this entire weekend.”

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

“Everyone knew we were underperforming when we were flirting around that .500 range,” Olson said. “It was one of those things where it was trusting the talent we have and the guys in the clubhouse. Everybody was solid, head down, do your work, it’ll turn around and you wind up winning.”

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).