Yankees grind down Max Scherzer, take Subway Series opener from Mets

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New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge celebrates a home run in the third inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Monday, Aug. 22, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Corey Sipkin

For a moment it looked as though the ghosts of Luis Castillo’s dropped catch in 2009 may have returned to haunt the Yankees in a critical August meeting with the Mets. Instead, the Bronx Bombers bore down in the seventh inning to give themselves breathing room and fend off the Metropolitans in a 4-2 win at Yankee Stadium. 

The victory marked the first time in a little under a month that the Yankees had won consecutive games and came 24 hours after they picked up an emotional win during Paul O’Neill day in the Bronx on Sunday. The meeting between New York’s major league ball clubs came with the two teams trending in opposite directions, with the Mets winning three of their last four and the Yankees losing three of their last four. 

New York’s American League club had watched its 15-game lead in the division dwindle to just eight going into the first game of the two-game series between the Mets and Yanks. Monday’s win was big for the Bombers with Tampa Bay in action against the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto having the night off. 

“We’re head down right now. We’re in a challenging point in our season,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said afterward about the win. “We’ve had some attrition. We’ve had some guys that were dinged up a little bit. Obviously, the last couple weeks have been a bit of a struggle for us offensively. The last two games, with the exception of the popup, we’ve done a lot of really good things.” 

He added: “It’s good to get a couple wins against some really good opponents and good pitchers, but it’s kind of now on to the next one and keep our head down. Keep digging ourselves out.” 

However, that win was put into jeopardy in the seventh when a series of events looked as though the tide of the game would turn in favor of the visitors from Queens. With one out and Domingo German pitching a shutout, Pete Alonso popped up a routine fly ball to right field and second baseman Oswaldo Cabrera tracked the ball into the outfield with Marwin Gonzalez trying to make the catch as well. 

Cabrera looked as though he’d make the play, but the ball came out of his glove and dropped to the ground. That allowed Daniel Vogelbach to get up and he hit a 404-foot home run to right center field to pull the Mets within one. 

The Yankees got out of the top half of the inning and in the bottom half, Andrew Benintendi drove in a run after Isiah Kiner-Falefa reached first and was moved to second on a throwing error to put the Yankees ahead 4-2. 

“Obviously this is a very confident team even going through these struggles,” Benintendi said. “I don’t think anybody lost confidence in the team that we have here. Just trying to stay positive, take the positives from today and move on to tomorrow.” 

The highly anticipated Subway Series matchup drew 48,760 fans to the Bronx marking the largest crowd of the year at Yankee Stadium. The building was rocking for the better part of the night as Mets and Yankees fans duked it out with dueling chants throughout the evening.  

German threw 6.1 innings striking out three and giving up two runs, including a home run. The Yankees starter had battled to keep the Mets offense at bay throughout the night and even stayed in the game after a 12-pitch at-bat to James McCann in the sixth that culminated in a hit right back at the pitcher that hit off his leg. 

Mets starter Max Scherzer went 6.2 innings giving up four runs on seven hits. It marked the first time that the Mets ace gave up four earned runs in consecutive starts. 

He did hit a milestone during the course of the game, moving to 13th on Major League Baseball’s all-time strikeout list with his punchout of Aaron Judge in the first inning.

The Mets were playing their fifth game in four days having played a doubleheader on Saturday. 

It was small ball that helped the Yankees drive in their first run of the game in the first inning against the crosstown rival Mets Benintendi got hit by a pitch to reach first and put his speed on display two batters later reaching third after Anthony Rizzo blooped a single over the Mets infielders into left field. 

For more coverage of the Yankees and Mets, visit amNY.com

Benintendi showed off his speed again when DJ LeMahieu hit a sacrifice fly to right field and the Yankees’ leadoff man beat the throw to the plate. 

Aaron Judge’s 47th home run of the season in the bottom of the third put the Bronx Bombers ahead by two. The Yankees slugger sent a 1-1 fastball 383 feet into the right field stands.