Over the weekend, the New York Yankees and the New York Mets linked up for a particularly emotional and eventful rendition of the Subway Series at Citi Field. This was in part because the middle game of the series fell on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York. Prior to that game, both teams precipitated in a pre-game ceremony which included Bobby Valentine and Joe Torre each throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
On the baseball side of things, both teams are fighting for their playoff lives. The Yankees came into the series clinging on to the second wild-card spot, while the Mets were five games out in the NL East. Each team knows how critical every game is at this point in the season, which contributed to a fun and intense atmosphere during the series.
Game One: Mets Win 10-3
The Yankees got out to an early 2-1 lead thanks to a home run by the struggling Joey Gallo. However, the Mets put up a five-spot in the 3rd inning and never looked back. The Mets’ offensive outburst came at the expense of Jordan Montgomery, who has been very good in 2021. Montgomery was tagged for 7 runs (5 earned) in 3.1 innings pitched, increasing his ERA to 3.71 on the year.
The top performers in the Mets’ blowout win were their middle infield duo, Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez. Lindor homered off Montgomery in the 4th and Baez went 3-4 with 2 RBI. Baez has been on fire since the thumbs-down debacle. Maybe he really did just need the fans to stop booing him after all. On the other side of the ball, Mets starter Tylor Megill was terrific. He went 7 innings, allowed only 2 runs, and stuck out 10 Yankees.
Game Two: Yankees Win 8-7
As previously mentioned, this game fell on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and it became an instant classic. The two New York teams duked it out in a back and forth affair which the Yankees ended up holding on to win 8-7.
The Yankees got out to an early lead when they put up a five-spot in the 2nd against Taijuan Walker. Kyle Higashioka, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Judge all hit home runs in that inning. However, the Mets immediately started to mount their comeback. They scored three runs off of Corey Kluber in the bottom of the second and tacked on another in the third. The breakthrough for the Mets came when James McCann hit a go-ahead home run in the 6th, which gave them their first lead of the game.
But the Yankees were not done. Like he has done all season, Judge once again put the Yankees on his back. He hit a game-tying home run in the 8th and made an incredible catch on a Baez sinking liner in the 9th. Judge’s home runs in this game were his 31st and 32nd of the season and his OPS rose to .916 from this game. The Yankees would score a run on a groundout in the 8th and Aroldis Chapman nailed down the save.
Game 3: Mets Win 7-6
The atmosphere for this game was as tense you will see during the regular season. This game would end up being Francisco Lindor’s signature Mets moment. The shortstop hit three home runs against his cross-town rivals, including a go-ahead home run in the 8th off of Chad Green. After his second homer, Lindor taunted the Yankees players with a whistling gesture as he rounded the bases. Apparently, in the previous game, the Mets heard whistling and thought the Yankees were relaying information while Walker was pitching. Walker was likely just tipping pitches but this created drama nonetheless.
Giancarlo Stanton hit a game-tying home run in the 7th and exchanged words with Lindor as he rounded the bases. As a result, the dugouts emptied but no punches were thrown. There was a lot of taunting throughout the game on both sides. Perhaps the best taunting came from Gardner, who during the benches-clearing incident, gave a thumbs-down gesture toward Lindor and Baez.
In the end, Lindor and the Mets got the last laugh as the Yankees failed to score off of Mets’ closer Edwin Diaz. Also, in addition to this loss, the Yankees also lost Aaron Judge–he left the game after two at-bats with dizziness.
The Mets probably aren’t going to make the playoffs, but they got to stick it to their rivals this weekend. The boo brothers stole the show; Baez and Lindor combined to hit five home runs in the series. The Yankees are now out of a playoff spot and have all but erased their 13-game winning streak.