The Mets and Yankees delivered an emotional pregame ceremony and an equally riveting nine innings on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
The Subway rivals produced a classic that finally tilted in the Yankees’ favor after players from both teams mingled before the first pitch, lining up side by side and exchanging hugs.
In the eighth inning, Pete Alonso’s blast to center field faded into Brett Gardner’s glove. A half-inning earlier, Aaron Judge’s towering shot reached the seats. The difference in the Yankees’ 8-7 victory over the Mets in front of a patriotic sellout crowd of 43,144 at Citi Field was there.
“I think overall it was a special night for New York,” Taijuan Walker said.
Even with the win, the Yankees — who ended a seven-game losing streak — are tied for second place in the AL with the Blue Jays (who swept a doubleheader against Baltimore).
“One of those where we needed everyone, we used almost everyone and yeah, it definitely feels good,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
The Mets dropped their third game in a row, squandering a chance to close the gap on Atlanta. In the NL East, they are still five games behind the Braves.
In the eighth inning, with two runners on base, Alonso hit a shot to center against Albert Abreu that appeared to have a chance of getting out of the yard. Gardner caught it to put an end to the Mets’ rally, and Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth, leaving the tying run at third base.
The Yankees took an 8-7 lead in the eighth inning when Javier Baez made a throwing error that allowed the go-ahead run to score. On Luke Voit’s grounder to shortstop, Baez took a throw from Francisco Lindor and got the out at second. Gleyber Torres was closing in on Baez, so he airmailed the throw to first, allowing Andrew Velazquez to score.
“I know it’s Sept. 11, but it definitely had the feel of a playoff game,” Brett Gardner said.
By swatting his second home run of the game, a two-run blast earlier in the inning against Trevor May that tied the game 7-7, Judge shattered the narrative of a Mets catcher leading the team to victory on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
James McCann hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning to give the Mets their first lead of the night. Mike Piazza was in attendance as part of the 9/11 commemorative events. On Sept. 21, 2001, Piazza hit the most famous home run in Mets history to help his team beat the Braves in the first game after the World Trade Center attacks.
It’s worth noting that Judge’s game-tying homer came against May, just two days after the reliever told The Post he was glad the games were played at Citi Field rather than Yankee Stadium.
“Fortunately we are playing in our graveyard of a park, so that is helpful,” May said Thursday. “We will keep the 314-foot homers to a minimum.”
The Judge’s blast traveled 413 feet and cleared the left-center fence. After Giancarlo Stanton singled following Judge’s home run, Aaron Loup was summoned to replace May with nobody out.
Although manager Luis Rojas said he wanted May’s four-seam fastball against the middle of the Yankees’ lineup, Seth Lugo needed only seven pitches to escape a scoreless seventh.
“May has been throwing the ball well for us lately, he has been placing the four-seamer well,” Rojas said.
Chad Green faced Jeff McNeil in the sixth inning, and he walked. Kevin Pillar struck out after a delay caused by a fan running onto the field and initially eluding security (he was tackled from behind in center field). Green walked McCann, who hit a 96-mph fastball over the left-field fence to give the Mets their first lead of the season, 6-5.