The Mets sent Jason Vargas to the mound, his mission twofold: 1 – to continue his month-long streak of quality pitching; and 2 – to wash away the bitter taste from game one of this day/night twin bill at Yankee Stadium. You could say they were successful on both counts. Vargas would be opposed by one of the Yankees’ big – in every sense of the word – pitchers, James Paxton.
The Mets would jump out early, as they had in the first game. Jeff McNeil hit the first pitch of the game on the ground into right field for a double. J.D. Davis let one pitch go by before singling to left, McNeil stopping at third. That brought up Pete Alonso, who launched an absolute moon shot into the left field bullpen, a good 420 feet from the plate for a quick 3-0 Mets lead. Paxton would settle down to retire the rest of the side in order. Vargas had an interesting first inning of his own. With one out, Luke Voit roped a single into left. Gary Sanchez worked a ten-pitch at bat before flying out deep center. Gleyber Torres hit the next pitch to center for a single, before Clint Frazier struck out looking. It looked like Vargas would be on much shakier ground than in his previous two starts, but the Mets gave him a nice cushion in the top of the third. With one out, Alonso and Todd Frazier both walked on 3-2 pitches. Michael Conforto then drove a base hit to center, knocking Alonso home. Wilson Ramos hit another single to left, giving the Mets a 5-0 bulge. It would become 6-0 when Andeiny Hechavarria singled with two outs. That would be all for Paxton, replaced by the twenty-sixth man on the Yankee roster, Chance Adams. He got Carlos Gomez on a fly ball to end the inning. Now it was up to Vargas to hold the large lead.
Vargas started the third inning giving up a single to D.J. LeMahieu and walking Voit. Sanchez hit a single to right to load the hassocks. Torres also singled to bring in LeMahieu with the first Yankee run. Clint Frazier grounded to Alonso at first, too slow for a double play as Voit scored. Gio Urshela then hit a similar ball to McNeil at second, scoring Sanchez and cutting the lead in half. Cameron Maybin flew out to stop the scoring. The Mets blew it open in the fourth. McNeil reached on a fielding error by Urshela at third. J.D. Davis then hit a Yankee Stadium III special, homering just over the right field wall for an 8-3 Met lead. His margin for error widened considerably, Vargas now steadied himself, but it took some doing. In the bottom of the fourth, he gave up back-to-back one out singles to Brett Gardner and LeMahieu, but got Voit to fly out and Sanchez to hit into a force. He got the side out in order in the fifth. By then, the lead was now 9-3, courtesy of another short-porch homer, this one by Gomez. Vargas actually lasted six full innings, when it wasn’t at all certain he’d get through four. In that sixth, he had the Yankees go three up, three down for a fine night’s work, as it turned out. Jeurys Familia pitched around a Sanchez base hit in the seventh and Seth Lugo struck out the side in the eighth. The Mets got their tenth run in the top of the ninth when Todd Frazier got hit by a pitch leading off. Luis Guillorme pinch-ran for him. After Conforto struck out, Guillorme moved down to second on Ramos’s ground out and scored on a deep double by Amed Rosario. Finally, the Yankees got one back when Drew Gagnon surrendered a leadoff homer to Gardner in the ninth, mere window-dressing by that point.
Off-day tomorrow, before the St. Louis Cardinals come to Queens on Thursday, Jack Flaherty taking on Jacob deGrom.