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Mets earn split of Subway Series doubleheader with the Yankees

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The Mets dropped the opener but won the night cap thanks to three home runs and a strong start by Vargas.

MLB: Game Two-New York Mets at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets earned a split of a day-night doubleheader with the New York Yankees on Tuesday after Monday night’s game was rained out. The Yankees took the afternoon affair, while the Mets came back with a win in the night game.

Game 1:

Coming into the afternoon game, the Mets had committed the fourth-most errors (46) in the National League, while the Yankees had committed the fourth-most errors (49) in the American League. It’s fair to say that neither team is known for their defensive prowess, so it’s no surprise that the game devolved into a sloppy, defensive mess.

In the end, it was the Yankees who proved to be the more opportunistic club, as they took advantage of a vast majority of the Mets’ miscues to earn the victory in game one of the day-night doubleheader. Things began innocently enough for starter Zack Wheeler, who struck out two batters in the first inning with a fastball that touched 100 miles-per-hour and a slider that was hitting 94 on the gun. He surrendered the first run of the game in the second, with a Didi Gregorius one-out double followed up by a two-out Kendrys Morales single to bring him home.

The Mets scored the bulk of their runs in the following inning to give them a short-lived lead. It was the bottom-third of the Mets’ order that did a bulk of the damage, beginning with shortstop Amed Rosario, who reached first on a Gregorius throwing error. Tomas Nido followed with a single to right-center field with Rosario attempting to steal, resulting in runners at the corners with nobody out. Juan Lagares drove Rosario in with a dribbler up the middle that trickled off Gregorius’s glove for an infield single. Jeff McNeil brought them all home with a three-run home run that landed in the bullpen in right-center and elicited plenty of “Let’s Go Mets” cheers from the sparse afternoon crowd.

That was the high point of the game, as Wheeler and the Mets were met with nothing but pain from there. The third inning began with a Brett Gardner lead-off single. DJ LeMahieu followed high a high chopper that Wheeler barehanded and fired over to second base to gun down Gardner for the first out of the inning. Aaron Boone challenged the play, and umpires overturned the call after citing that Rosario’s foot missed second base bag in a play that was eventually ruled an error.

After a Luke Voit strikeout, Gary Sanchez blooped a single to right field just passed McNeil’s outstretched glove to plate Gardner. Trainers came out to check on McNeil, who seemed to be favorite his right arm, but he remained in the game following the injury scare. Wheeler completed his 23-pitch third with a Gregorius strikeout.

The low point of this game came in the fourth. Morales picked up his second single of the game with one out, and Gio Urshela followed with a two-run home run into the left field bullpen to tie the game. After inducing a Gardner ground out, Wheeler appeared to get out of the inning when LeMahieu hit a routine grounder to Todd Frazier. However, the Mets’ third baseman proceeded to throw the ball away, which allowed LeMahieu to get to second base. After Aaron Hicks walked, Voit crushed a 1-0 offering from Wheeler into the stands in left field to make it 7-4 Yankees. The Yankees added two runs in the on an Urshela single, which drove home Morales, and a Gardner single, which brought Urshela home and brought an end to Wheeler’s evening.

What began as a genuinely promising start for Wheeler, whose fastball was electric and whose slider had good motion on it, ended with him giving up a career-high nine runs (five earned) over 4.2 innings. He gave up 10 hits and saw his ERA rise to 4.87 on the season. Wilmer Font was able to save the team’s bullpen from overuse, as he went 2.1 innings in relief of Wheeler while giving up a run in the seventh. Tim Peterson pitched the eighth for the Mets and surrendered a long two-run home run to Gary Sanchez.

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Box scores

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Win Probability Added

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jeff McNeil, 13.6% WPA, Tomas Nido, 10.0% WPA
Big losers: Zack Wheeler, -63.9% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -63.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: 13.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff McNeil three-run home run in the third, 19.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Luke Voit two-run home run in the fourth inning, -27.9% WPA

Game 2:

The Mets wasted no time in the night cap, as they set out to get their revenge following the afternoon loss. McNeil drove the first pitch he saw fair down the right field line for a lead-off double, and J.D. Davis followed with single two pitches later. Pete Alonso took a high fastball and drove it well beyond the left-center field wall to bring home McNeil and Davis and give the Mets an early three-run lead.

The Mets weren’t done scoring, as they doubled their lead in the third. With one out in the frame, Alonso and Frazier worked out walks for Michael Conforto, who grounded a single up the middle to plate Alonso. Wilson Ramos followed by muscling a single past Urshela to score Frazier. Two batters later, Adeiny Hechavarria singled for the team’s sixth run, which chased Yankees’ starter James Paxton from the game after 2.2 innings of work.

Jason Vargas, meanwhile, worked around early trouble and put up zeroes in the first two innings. In the process, Vargas matched a career best by pitching 17 scoreless innings. His streak who end there, as the Yankees got to him in the third with three runs. Vargas found himself in trouble right away, as LeMahieu singled and Voit walked to lead off the third. Sanchez followed with a single to load the bases, and Gleyber Torres kept the merry-go-round going with a single to bring LeMahieu home.

With the bases loaded and nobody out, things looked dire for Vargas, but he settled and down and was able to keep the inning from getting away from him. He forced Frazier into a fielder’s choice, which brought home another run but got him his first out of the inning. Urshela followed with another fielder’s choice that was hit too slowly for McNeil to turn two and gave the Yankees their third run. Vargas settled down to get Cameron Maybin to pop up to end the inning.

The Mets would give Vargas some additional breathing room in the fourth, courtesy of a Davis two-run home run. The inning began with a routine pop up off the bat of McNeil which Urshela dropped. Like the Yankees’ did throughout the first game, the Mets took advantage of the miscue, as Davis hit a home run to the short porch in right field to extend the Mets’ lead to five.

Vargas immediately got in trouble in the bottom half of the frame but worked around two baserunners and kept the Yankees off the board. From there, Vargas would retire the final eight batters he faced en route to picking up a quality start and the victory. After not winning a game since his first start of the season, Vargas now has wins in back-to-back starts and has the second-best ERA on the team behind Jacob deGrom.

The Mets were not done scoring, as Carlos Gomez decided to get in on the fun. After Rosario and Hechavarria flew out for two quick outs, Gomez took advantage of right field—much like Davis did in the previous inning—as he connected on a home run to the opposite field. The Mets added their tenth run in the ninth inning via a Rosario double to score pinch-runner and 26th man Luis Guillorme.

The Mets used a combination of Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, and Drew Gagnon to close out the final three innings. Familia worked around a two-out single to Sanchez and a walk to Torres while pitching a scoreless seventh, while Lugo struck out the side in his inning of work. Brett Gardner hit his tenth home run of the season in the ninth inning, but Gagnon recovered to finish the inning and secure the win for the Mets.

The Mets now own a 50-70 Yankees in regular season Subway Series play. The Mets will return home to Citi Field for a brief four-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night before heading out on an 11-game road trip. Jacob deGrom will take the hill on Thursday against Jack Flaherty.

SB Nation GameThreads

Amazin’ Avenue
Pinstripe Alley

Box scores

ESPN
MLB.com

Win Probability Added

fangraphs.com

What’s WPA?

Big winners: Pete Alonso, 15.2% WPA, J.D. Davis, 13.2% WPA
Big losers: None!
Total pitcher WPA: 6.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: 43.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso three-run home run in the first, 14.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Gleyber Torres run-scoring single in the third, -6.9% WPA