The New York Yankees stood with the Mets in an unprecedented show of Big Apple unity Saturday night in a 9/11 commemoration.
Then, the Yankees bolstered their playoff hopes — and delivered a blow to those of the Mets — by landing the final punch in an entertaining, back-and-forth game.
The Yankees will look to build another winning streak on Sunday night when they visit the Mets in the finale of the Subway Series.
The Yankees will start right-hander Clarke Schmidt, who will make his 2021 debut in pinstripes. Expected to be a key contributor to the Yankees staff this season, he has spent 2021 rehabbing a right forearm strain sustained in spring training. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (1-2, 5.88) is slated to start for the Mets.
After standing alongside the Mets on the baselines at Citi Field on Saturday in a stirring ceremony honoring the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the Yankees squandered an early five-run lead before scoring three times in the eighth in an 8-7 win.
The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Yankees (79-63) and allowed them to remain tied with the Toronto Blue Jays in the race for the second wild card in the American League. The Blue Jays, who began Saturday a half-game back of the Yankees, created the tie by sweeping a doubleheader from the Baltimore Orioles.
The Yankees held a three-game lead in the race for the first AL wild card — and were 9 1/2 games ahead of the Blue Jays — on Aug. 27, when they earned the final victory in a 13-game winning streak. The Yankees have gone just 3-11 since then.
“We definitely needed it,” said Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, who hit a two-run homer during the five-run second inning. “We needed it a few days ago, but it didn’t come until today. It’s nice to get back on the right track.”
The loss didn’t cost the Mets (71-72) any ground in their two playoff races, but it was nonetheless disheartening for a team running out of time to mount a postseason push.
The Mets remain four games behind the San Diego Padres in the chase for the second NL wild card and are five games behind Atlanta in the NL East after the Braves lost 6-4 to the Miami Marlins on Saturday.
“We’re definitely to the time of the season where you’re scoreboard-watching, you’re standing watching,” said Mets catcher James McCann, who hit a two-run, go-ahead homer in the sixth and flew out with the tying run at third to end the game.
“A night where we could have gained ground, a ballgame that very easily could have gone our way, yeah, it’s frustrating, but at the same time, we can’t dwell on it. We have to move on to (Sunday) and get right back after it.”
Schmidt, who last pitched in the majors on Sept. 27, 2020, is 0-1 with a 2.96 ERA in eight games (seven starts) for four Yankees minor-league affiliates this season. He has yet to face the Mets in his career.
Carrasco picked up the win Tuesday despite giving up four runs (one earned) over five innings against the Miami Marlins. He is 5-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 12 games (nine starts) against the Yankees.
–Field Level Media