It is virtually impossible to hold down the best offense in baseball for nine innings. Vex the Yankees’ bats for a while, and the hitters notice patterns and weaknesses. They share tidbits of information in the dugout and capitalize on mistakes until the opponent breaks.
On Saturday, they wore down Mets starter Steven Matz and pounced on reliever Anthony Swarzak. Down by 3-0 in the first inning, the Yankees came back for a 4-3 victory that positioned them for a three-game sweep of this Subway Series.
“We got a really good team that competes and, even if we get down early, we’re always fighting,” said Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge, who hit the go-ahead home run against Swarzak in the eighth inning.
Judge’s blast, his 18th of the season, sealed the fourth win in a row for the Yankees, who have the best record in baseball at 42-18. Eight of their past nine wins have been comebacks.
The latest added another indignity to the Mets’ losing streak, which extended to eight games. The Mets are 27-34 and have lost 10 straight at home, the longest such streak in the 10-year history of Citi Field. The last time the team lost this many consecutive games at home was 2002, when it dropped 15 in a row at Shea Stadium.
“We just need the big hit and the big shutdown inning,” said Mets Manager Mickey Callaway, who has tried to find positives about his team after each loss. Six of the Mets’ past eight losses have come by three runs or fewer.
“It’s not like we’re getting boat raced every night,” Callaway added. “We’re in every single game.”
After Callaway reordered the lineup searching for offense, the Mets jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Yankees starter Domingo German, who entered with a 5.44 earned run average. Todd Frazier smashed a solo home run to left field that was soon followed by a two-run blast from Asdrubal Cabrera.
“For lack of a better word, you’ve got to step on their throats when they’re down,” said Frazier, who was a Yankee last season. “And we just didn’t do it.”
In the third inning, Matz opened the door for the Yankees’ comeback by surrendering a solo home run to the rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres, who has 11 homers in 41 career games.
As the Mets’ offense reverted to form, German found his footing. He did not allow another run over the next five innings.
“It shows the trust he has in the offense on this team to come back and put some runs on the board for him,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said.
Matz, on the other hand, began to slip. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning, which included a walk of German, by getting an overanxious Judge to groundout.
In his next inning, Matz lost the strike zone against Gary Sanchez, walking him on five pitches, and the next batter, the rookie Miguel Andujar, sent a hanging curveball over the left-field fence for a game-tying two-run blast.
Callaway said he had left Matz in the game because the starters’ stout pitching over the past three weeks had earned them the right to determine the outcome of a game.