Chris Young hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning, Jenrry Mejia provided a jolt after his reluctant move to the bullpen and the previously punchless New York Mets went deep four times to rally past the Yankees 9-7 Monday night in the Subway Series opener.
Curtis Granderson connected in his return to Yankee Stadium, and the Mets also got long balls from Eric Young Jr. and Travis d’Arnaud while overcoming a pair of three-run deficits.
Lumbering first baseman Lucas Duda turned in two spectacular defensive plays, starting a game-ending double play with runners at the corners by making a diving stop of Brian McCann’s sharp grounder.
Taking full advantage of the hitter-friendly confines across town, rather than the vast dimensions back home at Citi Field, the Mets hit four home runs in a game for the first time since May 3, 2013, in Atlanta, according to STATS. They began the day ranked 29th in the majors with 22 home runs.
The Mets also hit four doubles in their latest win over the Yankees. The Mets went 4-0 against them last year.
Brett Gardner hit an early grand slam off ex-Yankee Bartolo Colon, and Derek Jeter had three hits for the first time since September 30, 2012, in Toronto. Carlos Beltran left in the seventh with a hyperextended elbow.
Bumped to the bullpen before the game, Mejia (4-0) entered in the seventh for his first big league relief appearance since September 2012. He struck out Alfonso Soriano on three pitches and worked a scoreless eighth.
Mejia sure seemed to relish the role — even though he made it clear he wanted to stay in the rotation because he was concerned about injuring his surgically repaired arm again. The right-hander excitedly pumped his fist after a double play and then backed his way off the mound following a called third strike that ended the eighth.
Kyle Farnsworth pitched a shaky ninth for his third save — aided by Mark Teixeira’s sore legs.
Teixeira laced a pinch-hit single to right that went to the wall and sent Jeter to third base. A gimpy Teixeira had to stop at first, though, and was pulled for a pinch-runner. That kept the double play in order and Duda turned a rare 3-5-3 gem with third baseman David Wright, who was shifted near shortstop against McCann.
Pinch-hitter Eric Campbell, enjoying his third day in the majors, got the Mets started in the eighth by hustling for a double after his sharp grounder caromed off third baseman Yangervis Solarte and into left field.
Duda blooped a single to center off Matt Thornton (0-1), and Campbell barely beat Jacoby Ellsbury’s accurate throw with a nifty slide at the plate. Chris Young greeted Preston Claiborne with a two-run shot to left, giving the Mets a 9-7 lead.
The Yankees snapped a 4-all tie with three runs in the sixth off Colon, who gave up 11 hits for the second time this season. Solarte hit a go-ahead single on a 3-0 pitch and Kelly Johnson followed with an RBI triple. Brian Roberts trotted home from third when d’Arnaud’s throw sailed high into center field for an error as Gardner stole second.
Young Jr. trimmed it to 7-6 with a two-run homer off reliever Alfredo Aceves in the seventh.
Trailing 4-1, the Mets responded with d’Arnaud’s opposite-field solo shot in the fifth. Wright singled in the sixth and Granderson sent a 3-0 pitch from Hiroki Kuroda over the short porch in right to tie it.
Granderson signed a $60 million, four-year contract with the Mets in December after spending the previous four seasons with the Yankees. He caused a bit of a stir in the offseason by saying, “A lot of the people I’ve met in New York have always said that true New Yorkers are Mets fans.”
In the first inning, Granderson turned to fans in right field and waved. The crowd of 46,517, chanting back and forth as usual, included Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra — who received a warm hand on his 89th birthday — and a large section of Mets fans in left field wearing orange shirts that read “Bronx Invasion.”