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Aaron Judge homers again, Pete Alonso’s tough night paves way for Yankees’ sweep of Mets in Subway Series

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Aaron Judge Yankees Mets
New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge tosses his bat after hitting a home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

In terms of regular-season drama, it doesn’t get much higher than what was seen at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.

With the Mets trailing 4-2 with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth inning and Francisco Lindor, Yankees reliever Wandy Peralta — called in to face the Queens star after Clarke Schmidt loaded the bases — coaxed a game-ending flyout to center field to secure a Subway Series sweep for the Bronx Bombers.

Broken bats and missed pop-ups headlined a dubious night for Mets star Pete Alonso to put the Yankees in the driver’s seat for their third consecutive win. After the Mets (79-46) battled back to erase a 2-0 deficit, Alonso whiffed on a pop fly in the seventh inning, allowing the Yankees (76-48) to reclaim the lead on ensuing RBI singles from Andrew Benintendi and Aaron Judge. 

After Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless sixth inning for the Mets in a 2-2 game, Joely Rodriguez couldn’t keep the Yankees in check —  though he received little help from his defense. 

With one out and Oswaldo Cabrera on second, pinch-hitter Jose Trevino skied a pop fly into short right field that Alonso missed. It just landed in fair territory, putting runners at the corner. Benintendi followed it up with an RBI single and the Yankees were back in front. 

“I did the best I could to try and get there but it’s just tough,” Alonso said. “Just couldn’t make a play. It’s a tough long run and I could get there.”

Pete Alonso Mets Yankees
New York Mets’ Jeff McNeil (1) and Starling Marte (6) watch as first baseman Pete Alonso (20) loses control of a ball hit by New York Yankees’ Jose Trevino during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

It was the lowest point of the night for Alonso, who went 2-for-4 with two singles which came after striking out swinging on a high fastball to lead off the fourth inning, prompting him to break his bat over his left knee while walking off toward the dugout in disgust.

“I just really didn’t want to chase that pitch up in the zone,” Alonso said. “I saw the pitch well but I don’t know why I swung. It looked too good to hold up.”

Gifted an extra out due to Alonso’s miscue, Judge picked up his second RBI of the night with two outs in the inning with a single to left to put the Yankees back up two. 

In an attempt to redeem himself, Alonso followed up a Lindor lead-off walk in the eighth with a single, but Daniel Vogelbach’s double play snuffed out any threat for Schmidt and the Yankees. 

While Benintendi continued his run of clutch hits dating back to Sunday’s game-winning home run against the Toronto Blue Jays, Judge also launched his second home run in as many games for his 48th of the campaign to jolt the Bronx awake after a brief pitcher’s duel.

Frankie Montas put together his finest start as a Yankee since being acquired from the Oakland Athletics at the trade deadline. After allowing 14 earned runs in 14 innings, the right-hander yielded just two runs on six hits with six strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work against the Mets. 

He would only wind up with a no-decision, however, as Mets starter Taijuan Walker — who was making his first start since Aug. 16 after dealing with back spasms — held the Yankees to two runs on four hits in a particularly difficult fourth inning to provide quite a blemish to an otherwise solid start.

The Mets could have made Montas’ night much worse, but they let a pair of prime scoring opportunities slip through their fingers in the first two innings. Putting runners on first and second in each of the first and second innings — the latter with no outs and the former situation with just one — the Mets couldn’t table a single run, leaving three runners on base.

They stranded four runners all of Monday night. 

Walker meanwhile had faced the minimum through two, needing only 20 pitches to do so. That was six less than Montas needed to get through the first, alone. But he would be the first to break in the bottom of the fourth, serving up a solo shot with two outs to Judge for his 48th home run of the season. On a 3-2 sinker that caught plenty of plate down in the zone, the Yankees slugger golfed a no-doubt blast 453 feet into the left-field bleachers as Mark Canha remained rooted to his spot to watch it leave the yard. 

“It was supposed to be a sinker in,” Walker said. “It was well located, but he hits fastballs really well. It just wasn’t the right pitch.

“He covers the ball well. He covers fastballs all over. We see that he struggles with the sliders and changeups… we thought maybe we could sneak a fastball there to get some weak contact.”

His problems only began there. After allowing hits to Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres, he walked the next two batters he faced, issuing an RBI free pass to Oswaldo Cabrera to double the Yankees’ advantage. It was the youngster’s first career RBI in the majors. 

“I was just getting the ball and going,” Walker said. “I have to do a better job of slowing it down and just regrouping after every pitch.”

The Mets managed to get one back in the fifth when Starling Marte finally took advantage of a prime scoring opportunity, sneaking a single into right to score Mark Canha from third — who led the inning off with a double. But Brett Baty was thrown out at home by Cabrera to limit Montas’ damage. 

It was an aggressive send from third-base coach Joey Cora, especially considering Francisco Lindor was on deck. 

Regardless, the Mets managed to tie it up in wild fashion in the sixth when Jeff McNeil doubled to right-center field with Alonso on first. 

With Cora waving the slugger home with the ball in the right-center-field gap, Alonso stumbled around third and held up as the ball hit Yankees cut-off man Gleyber Torres.

Rather than fire the ball home to try and strand Alonso in a run-down, he opted to make a mad dash toward a vacant second base to try and tag McNeil, who strayed toward third base. McNeil, however, won the race to the bag, allowing Alonso to score.

That was all for Montas, who departed his best start as a Yankee on the hook with McNeil at second, but Clarke Schmidt coaxed a groundout from Canha.