The Mets did everything they could to lose it, but the Yankees were better at the particular game Thursday.
In a wild afternoon and early evening of blah starting pitching, bullpen malfunctions and inappropriate base running, Pete Alonso removed the Yankees from their misery with a walk-off 10th-inning homer against Albert Abreu that gave the Mets a 9-7 victory at Citi Field.
The walk-off blast was the first of Alonso’s career and atoned for an earlier defensive flub that helped the Yankees extend their lead. The Mets won their second straight and managed a 3-3 tie in the season series with the Yankees.
After an emotional series with Tampa Bay in which they lost two of three, the Yankees could have used an easy victory, but never put away the Mets after grabbing a 4-0 lead in the second inning.
In a kooky ninth inning, Aroldis Chapman walked Jeff McNeil leading off and balked pinch-runner Billy Hamilton to second. Hamilton took off for third on the next pitch and was thrown out by Gary Sanchez. The ensuing batter, J.D. Davis, cleared the center-field fence to tie it 7-7.
The Yankees had their own base-running snafu in the 10th inning, when Tyler Wade broke from second on DJ LeMahieu’s line drive that Michael Conforto snagged and Wade was thrown out.
Zack Britton surrendered a two-run single to Amed Rosario in the eighth, but the Mets’ comeback stalled. Chapman, who is appealing his three-game suspension for throwing near the head of the Rays’ Michael Brosseau, continued his struggles with a second blown save in three chances.
Miguel Castro’s control was an issue in the seventh inning. The right-hander walked two batters and with two outs allowed a go-ahead RBI single to Gio Urshela. The inning got worse for the Mets when Alonso didn’t get his glove down on Brett Gardner’s grounder that went for an RBI double to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead. The Castro letdown came after Chasen Shreve and Jeurys Familia had combined to pitch 4 ¹/₃ shutout innings behind ineffective Robert Gsellman.
J.A. Happ was given a four-run lead in the second inning, but saw it disappear by the fourth. The Mets’ comeback started with Todd Frazier’s solo homer to right in the second — his first hit since rejoining the Mets a day earlier.
The Mets attacked with three runs in the fourth to tie it 4-4. Frazier started the rally with a double before Happ retired Dominic Smith and struck out Alonso. But Jake Marisnick delivered the first of four straight two-out hits to give the Mets new life. Marisnick doubled in a run and Rosario’s ensuing RBI single pulled the Mets within 4-3. Robinson Chirinos singled for his first Mets hit before Jeff McNeil tied it with a single to left-center.
Happ, trying to show he’s worthy of the Yankees picking up his $17 million option for next season, lasted five innings and allowed four earned runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and one walk. It came less than a week after the left-hander dominated the Mets by throwing a three-hit shutout over seven innings.
Gsellman was competitive against the Yankees in his start last weekend, but barely bothered to show up this time. The right-hander was removed after only 1 ²/₃ innings in which he surrendered four earned runs on four hits and four walks. The dismal performance raised his ERA to 7.84, as part of a rotation with gaping holes.
Urshela singled and Gardner walked with one out in the second, prompting a mound visit from pitching coach Jeremy Hefner. If Hefner told Gsellman to throw strikes, it was mission accomplished: Kyle Higashioka singled to load the bases before Wade delivered an RBI single. After LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead, Luke Voit smashed a two-run double. Still, Gsellman remained in the game to load the bases with consecutive walks to Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier. Before the game could spiral out of control, Shreve entered to retire Mike Ford for the final out.