The Subway Series celebrated its 18th rendition Monday night and threw a rocking birthday party at Yankee Stadium.
Brett Gardner hit a grand slam for the Yankees. Curtis Granderson homered in his return to the Bronx, one of four long balls by the Mets.
The Mets twice rallied from three-run deficits, took a two-run lead in the eighth on Chris Young's two-run homer off Preston Claiborne and then tried to see if their beleaguered bullpen could hold the lead.
It did, thanks to a terrific game-ending double play started by Lucas Duda, and the Mets beat the Yankees for the fifth consecutive time, 9-7. The Mets swept the four-game series last year.
The Subway Series is passé? Didn't seem like it Monday night. "The atmosphere, it creates intensity and it creates focus and guys get excited about being here," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Monday night's game wasn't played before a full house, though the crowd was a robust 46,517. There was no ceremonial first pitch. Still, it was darn exciting, with dueling "Let's go Yankees" and "Let's go Mets" chants.
Yogi Berra, a Hall of Famer with ties to both teams, was cheered on his 89th birthday when the centerfield scoreboard showed him sitting next to Hank Steinbrenner. But the game was the star and the drama didn't end until the final out.
The Yankees had runners on first and third with one out in the ninth after Mark Teixeira smashed a pinch-hit single into the rightfield corner.
Teixeira, who didn't start because of tired legs, was batting in Carlos Beltran's spot; Beltran left the game for pinch hitter John Ryan Murphy in the seventh after hyperextending his right elbow swinging in the cage between at-bats. He had a postgame MRI. The Yankees also were without Ichiro Suzuki and Shawn Kelley with back issues.
Because Teixeira couldn't run well, he didn't try for a double.So pinch runner Brendan Ryan was on first when Brian McCann hit a hot smash that first baseman Duda gobbled up with a dive before throwing to third baseman David Wright, who was covering second on the overshift. Wright turned the 3-5-3 double play to end the game. "He was pretty excited to be a part of that play at the end," Collins said of Wright. "That was a tremendous play."
Jenrry Mejia (4-0), demoted to the bullpen before the game, got the win with 11/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Gardner hit his second career grand slam in the second against Bartolo Colon to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead. But the Mets tied it at 4 against Hiroki Kuroda on Travis d'Arnaud's solo shot in the fifth and Granderson's two-run blast in the sixth. "You know in this ballpark, there's no lead that's safe here," Wright said.
Granderson was booed in his return to Yankee Stadium -- but not as much as Robinson Cano was a couple of weeks ago.
The Yankees snapped the tie with a three-run sixth, but the Mets closed to within 7-6 in the seventh on a two-run home run by Eric Young Jr. off Alfredo Aceves and tied it in the eighth on Duda's RBI single off Matt Thornton. Chris Young followed with his tiebreaking homer off Claiborne.
"Those kinds of games happen on a regular basis here,'' Young said. "You naturally never give up, you never feel like you're out of it, especially in a ballpark like this. You know there could be a big inning at any given moment for either side. You have to stay on your toes and you just have to keep fighting."
Along with Kelley, the Yankees were without Dellin Betances and Adam Warren because of recent use. "We didn't make pitches," Girardi said. "We didn't have some guys that we usually use in those times and we asked some other guys to do something and they weren't able to get it done."