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Brandon Nimmo’s return and Taijuan Walker’s dominance led to a decisive victory in the Subway Series opener

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The Mets scored eight runs en route to victory.

MLB: New York Mets at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets and Yankees each entered the first installment of the 2021 Subway Series with 41 wins, but with two very different seasons unfolding. The Yankees find themselves in fourth place, struggling to remain relevant in the division. The Mets, on the other hand, have a small but steady lead in the NL East and, despite being repeatedly bitten by the injury bug, have more or less remained in the hunt all season.

And for the first four innings, the teams played about as evenly as their records would suggest. While the Mets got a few men on base in the first, in the form of a Brandon Nimmo single in his first at-bat back from the Injured List and a Francisco Lindor walk, neither team were able to do much against the other’s starting pitcher early on.

Yankees starter Jordon Montgomery allowed a baserunner in all of his innings, save the fourth, but managed to wriggle his way out with no damage until the fifth inning. Jose Peraza led off the fifth inning with a fly out to center, and that would be the final out Montgomery recorded in the game. Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, and Dominic Smith singled in succession, with Smith’s single plating Nimmo with the game’s first run. A walk to Pete Alonso chased Montgomery from the game, with Lucas Luetge brought in as the first arm from the Yankees’ bullpen.

Luetge’s first batter was James McCann, who smacked a single to center, scoring Lindor. After a Conforto fly out, Luetge uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Smith to score and putting the Mets up 3-0.

On the other side of the diamond, Taijuan Walker continued his excellent first half with a dominant, though high pitch-count, performance. Walker allowed walks to Gleyber Torres in the second and DJ LeMahieu in the third but, aside from Torres also reaching on an error, those were the only baserunners allowed by Walker through the first five innings.

Former Met Justin Wilson started the sixth for the Yankees, and the singles parade from the fifth picked up unabated. Jeff McNeil, Peraza, and Nimmo all singled to load the bases with no outs. A bases loaded walk to Lindor made it 4-0, Smith stroked an opposite field double, plating Peraza and Nimmo and knocking Wilson from the game.

Michael King then entered the game for the Yankees, and gave up two more runs before the end of the inning on a two-RBI single by Kevin Pillar, putting the Mets up 8-0.

Entering the inning with an already high pitch count, Taijuan Walker still had a no-hitter going, but was only likely to pitch one more inning. The potentially difficult decision would up being taken out of Luis Rojas’s hands, as Walker gave up an opposite field home run to Aaron Judge, breaking up the no-hitter and shutout. After a single to Giancarlo Stanton, Walker was pulled from thee game with 2 outs in the sixth. Walker continues to be one of the best signings of the off-season, and has the numbers to be a National League All-Star. Make it happen, MLB.

The first man out of the pen for the Mets was Miguel Castro, and his rough stretch continued. After hitting Luke Voit and walking Torres, Castro gave up a hard hit single to Gio Urshella to score Stanton and Voit. He was pulled for Jeurys Familia, who struck out Miguel Andujar to end the frame.

The rest of the game was a battle of effective bullpens. Familia and Drew Smith combined for three and a third innings of perfect relief with five strikeouts between them. Michael King put on a clinic over four innings, striking out nine and walking just one.

Tomorrow, the Mets and Yankees play a split double header at Yankee Stadium. In Game One, Marcus Stroman and Gerrit Cole face off in a marquee matchup. In Game Two, Nestor Cortes faces off against the famous TBD in a less marquee matchup.

Box scores

MLB.com

ESPN

Win Probability Added

Mets vs Yankees WPA Chart 7/3/21
Fangraphs.com

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Taijuan Walker, +27.1% WPA

Big Mets loser: Michael Conforto, -10.9% WPA

Mets pitchers: +29.6% WPA

Mets hitters: +20.4% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Dominic Smith’s RBI-single in the fifth inning, +15.8% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Gleyber Torres reaching on an error in the fifth inning, -4.4% WPA

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