The Mets took advantage of poor pitching and defense on the part of their crosstown rivals to beat the Yankees 10-3 in the first game of this weekend Subway Series at Citi Field. The Yankees got on the board first; with one out in the first inning, Brett Gardner hit a ball toward the left field corner that was tailing away from Jeff McNeil, who dove for it and missed, letting the ball squirt past him for a triple by Gardner. Gardner then scored on a sharp grounder to second by Aaron Judge to give the Yankees the lead.
The Mets answered in the bottom of the first in somewhat dramatic fashion. Jonathan Villar led off the inning with a single off Jordan Montgomery. Then, after Francisco Lindor struck out for the first out, Michael Conforto flared a single to left, on which Villar advanced to third. After Pete Alonso struck out for the second out, Javier Báez singled sharply to left and in an ill-advised decision, Gary DiSarcina sent Villar on the play. Joey Gallo’s throw had Villar dead to rights at the plate—so much so that Villar didn’t even bother sliding until the very last moment—but Gary Sánchez made perhaps the worst tag I’ve ever seen a catcher make. Upon replay review by the umpires, the initial out call was overturned when the video clearly showed that Villar snuck under the poor tag attempt by Sánchez and just like that the game was knotted at one run apiece.
Joey Gallo untied the game in a hurry with a one-out, go-ahead solo homer off Megill in the second and the Yankees would remain ahead until the bottom of the third inning when the Mets dropped a crooked number on Montgomery, assisted once again by the Yankees’ defense. Villar once again led off the inning with a single and Lindor followed with a walk. A wild pitch advanced them to second and third, but then that was rendered irrelevant by a walk to Michael Conforto, which loaded the bases with nobody out. Pete Alonso then worked a strong at-bat to also draw the free pass from Montgomery, forcing in the tying run—still with nobody out. Once again at the center of the rally, Javy Báez hit a sharp grounder to Gio Urshela at third base; Urshela clearly had the home-to-first double play in mind and flung the ball home quickly from his knees, but the throw sailed wide of Gary Sánchez’s outstretched glove and Villar crossed the plate with the go-ahead run. It was arguably a throw that Sánchez could have saved from going to the backstop, but poor defense on both ends of that play by the Yankees netted the Mets a run. What’s more, the bases were still loaded and there was still nobody out.
Then, it what was arguably the spark plug of the whole big inning for the Mets, Jeff McNeil executed a perfect bases loaded, drag bunt single to score Conforto and give the Mets a 4-2 lead. Kevin Pillar followed with a sacrifice fly to score Alonso. Unfortunately, the Mets then made a mistake of their own, as Javy Báez was a bit too hungry to steal third base and took off too soon; he was picked off by Montgomery, but he did get into a lengthy enough rundown between second and third base to allow McNeil to advance to second. James McCann then roped a double to drive in McNeil and put the cherry on top of a five-run inning for the Mets. It would have been a six-run inning (at least) if not for Báez getting picked off, but given how the rest of the game transpired, that hardly ended up mattering in the end. Megill—the ninth man to bat in the inning—struck out to end the inning and give Montgomery a brief reprieve.
But the Mets continued to pile on after that. With one out in the fourth, Francisco Lindor parked a ball in the right field corner for a solo homer to put the Mets up 7-2. That closed the book on Montgomery, who ultimately took the loss in what was one of the worst starts of his career (of course, not aided by his defense). Joely Rodríguez then entered the game in relief and Conforto legged out an infield single to force him to immediately deal with traffic on the base paths. After Alonso flew out to the warning track in center field (the first of a couple of times he did that in the game) for the second out, Báez—again at the center of it all—drilled an RBI double to drive in Conforto and lengthen the Mets’ lead to 8-2. Báez tried to advance to third on the throw home and was nabbed at third base. Otherwise, the inning could have been an even bigger one for the Mets.
But Tylor Megill already had all the run support he would need. After the Gallo home run, Megill was brilliant the rest of the night. In his best start as a big leaguer so far, he struck out a career-high ten batters in seven innings of work—the deepest he’s gone into a game so far. With that quality start, he earned his third win of the season.
Meanwhile, Michael King—freshly reinstated from the injured list—seemed to finally calm things down for the Yankees, working mostly uneventful fifth and sixth innings in relief. However, things seemed to get away from him a bit in his third inning of work. With one out, Javy Báez notched his third hit of the game—a bloop single. King then plunked McNeil and Kevin Pillar back-to-back to load the bases. It was clear neither was intentional, but it still drew some stares from the Mets dugout. Still, King should have escaped his self-made jam because he induced a tailor made double play grounder off the bat of James McCann. But the Yankees defense struck again; Gleyber Torres sailed the throw to first base and two runs scored to extend the Mets’ lead to 10-2.
Heath Hembree tossed a scoreless eighth inning in relief of Megill, working around two one-out singles by the pinch hitter Luke Voit and D.J. LeMahieu. Michael Conforto likely saved a run on an excellent tumbling grab on a shallow fly ball by Aaron Judge, which ended the inning. Yennsy Díaz was tasked with the ninth and gave up a solo home run to Anthony Rizzo to lead off the frame before retiring the next three batters in order to secure the victory for the Mets.
Taijuan Walker will face off against Corey Kluber in the second game of this Subway Series in Queens. First pitch will be at 7:45pm ET, as there will be a pre-game remembrance ceremony to honor the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
*illar of the game
Jonathan Villar - 2 hits, 2 runs scored
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Javier Báez, +18.9% WPA
Big Mets loser: Kevin Pillar, -3.5% WPA
Mets pitchers: -2.5% WPA
Mets hitters: +52.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jonathan Villar scores on the overturned play at the plate on Javier Báez’s RBI single, +10.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Joey Gallo’s go-ahead homer in the second inning, -11.5% WPA