This game started off rather promisingly for the Mets when Brandon Nimmo took Masahiro Tanaka deep in the bottom of the first inning on just the second pitch he threw. However, as has become routine, the happy feelings did not last long, as the Mets’ bats fell back into silence thereafter.
After the first, Jacob deGrom and Masahiro Tanaka matched zeros through the middle innings, facing one over the minimum between them through five innings. The Yankees scratched out a run against Jacob deGrom in the sixth and Tanaka was able to help his own cause. After retiring Miguel Andujar on a slow roller, Adrian Gonzalez was unable to handle a second slow roller off the bat of Tanaka, allowing Tanaka to reach base. Gleyber Torres then hit a well-struck single up the middle to start the Yankees’ first rally. deGrom then walked Brett Gardner to load the bases and things began to look really dicey with slugger Aaron Judge striding to the plate. As usual, deGrom turned it up a notch when faced with trouble and he was able to jam Aaron Judge and induce a shallow fly ball to right. But Jay Bruce’s arm failed him in right field and the weak throw allowed Tanaka to score on the sac fly to tie the game at one. Unrelenting, deGrom struck out Greg Bird to silence the threat, leaving the Yankees with just the one unearned run.
Even though Tanaka proved to be an equal match to deGrom in the game, the duel between the two came to a premature end when Tanaka was forced out of the game due to tightness in his hamstrings he felt while busting down the third base line to score on Judge’s sac fly. He was replaced by Jonathan Holder, who pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning.
deGrom followed an inning in which he was forced to work with a six-pitch frame in the seventh, with three consecutive balls hit to Amed Rosario off the bats of Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez—whose number Jake seemed to have all night—and Didi Gregorious. The Mets’ best chance to score since Nimmo’s leadoff homer came in the bottom of the inning, when Todd Frazier slashed a two-out single, which Jay Bruce followed with a bloop single to right field. However, Chad Green was able to strike out Devin Mesoraco to end the inning.
It seemed that Jacob deGrom was continuing to cruise in the eighth, when he recorded two quick outs—a groundout on the part of Miguel Andujar and a strikeout of the pinch hitter Aaron Hicks. But Gleyber Torres kept the inning alive with a single, his second hit of the night. And then Brett Gardner dealt the decisive blow: a two-run shot that just barely cleared the orange stripe in right field near the 370 mark to put the Yankees ahead 3-1. deGrom hung his head on the mound, knowing just as well as anybody else in the building that the game was likely over. But he didn’t let the go-ahead homer hang in the air as his final message of the night. He froze Aaron Judge with one of the nastiest pitches he threw all night for his eighth strikeout, putting an exclamation mark on an outing in which he, as usual, deserved better.
The Mets went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth against Dellin Betances. Paul Sewald was tasked with the ninth, and gave up a solo home run to Giancarlo Stanton, just fair down the left field line—not that the Yankees needed the insurance run. The Mets mounted a small rally against Aroldis Chapman in the ninth. Brandon Nimmo was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Asdrubal Cabrera reached for a pitch out of the zone, but dribbled it to no man’s land, reaching on an infield single. Michael Conforto then flew out to center field for the first out. Todd Frazier then hit one of the most well-struck balls by a Mets hitter all night, a sharp drive down the left field line that seemed like a double off the bat, but was nabbed by Miguel Andujar, diving to his right. Andujar was able to retire Cabrera at second for the force out. Jay Bruce then stranded the runners at first and third to end the game, popping out to shallow right field.
In Masahiro Tanaka and Jacob deGrom we see a tale of two seasons and a tale of two teams. Tanaka has had an uneven season so far, to the tune of a 4.58 ERA. Yet, thanks to some of the best run support in the league, he is 7-2 on the season. Meanwhile, Jacob deGrom, whose 1.49 ERA will rise after holding one of the best offenses in the game to just three runs, was tagged with the loss, as his record now stands at 4-1.
Steven Matz takes the hill tonight for the Mets against rookie Domingo Germen, who has taken Jordan Montgomery’s place in the Yankees’ rotation to less than stellar results so far. Hopefully the beleaguered offense can break through against the struggling young righty in game two of this Subway Series.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Brandon Nimmo, +12.1% WPA
Big losers: Devin Mesoraco, -15.4% WPA, Michael Conforto, -13.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Brandon Nimmo’s first inning solo homer, +10.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Brett Gardner’s go-ahead two-run homer, -40.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -11% WPA
Total batter WPA: -39% WPA
GWRBI!: Brett Gardner