Aaron Judge took a shortcut, but it counted all the same.
After launching a titanic third-deck blast last year at Citi Field that was among the loudest in Subway Series history, the Yankees slugger hit a mortal shot over the left-field fence in Saturday’s eighth inning — and it was plenty good enough to sink the Mets again.
With Judge’s solo blast against reliever Anthony Swarzak the difference, the Yankees won 4-3 for their sixth straight victory against the Mets over the past two seasons.
The reeling Mets lost their eighth straight, this time going quietly after putting three runs on the board in the first inning. But the Mets’ three runs were their most in six games.
Swarzak, in his second appearance since returning from the disabled list on Tuesday, needed only one pitch to give the Yankees their first lead of the game. The homer was Judge’s 18th of the season and the Yankees’ third of the game.
The Yankees, who won for the ninth time in 10 games, received a combined three innings of shutout relief from David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman. The lefty Chapman walked two batters in the ninth, but retired pinch-hitter Jose Reyes to record his 17th save.
The Mets had an excellent chance to go ahead in the seventh, but squandered it. After Adrian Gonzalez hit a grounder over third base for a leadoff double, Robertson retired the next three batters in order to keep it 3-3.
Steven Matz kept the Mets in the game by allowing three earned runs on five hits and four walks over six innings. The lefty was removed at 105 pitches, his second straight start reaching triple digits after failing to reach that level in his first 10 appearances this season.
Miguel Andujar smashed a two-run homer in the sixth that tied the score 3-3, completely erasing the Mets’ three-run lead to start the game. The extra-base hit was Andujar’s 31st, tops among major league rookies. Matz walked Gary Sanchez with one out in the inning before Andujar hit a shot into the left-field seats for his eighth homer.
Matz was on the brink of disaster in the fifth when he walked Aaron Hicks with two outs to load the bases, with Judge coming up and Giancarlo Stanton on deck. But Matz retired Judge on a grounder, keeping the Mets’ lead at 3-1. Matz’s trouble in the inning included walking pitcher Domingo German on four pitches. Matz recovered to strike out Gleyber Torres for the second out.
Torres hammered a 2-2 sinker from Matz for a solo homer in the third that pulled the Yankees within 3-1. The dynamic rookie now has seven homers in his past 17 games.
The Yankees received a solid outing from German, who allowed three runs on five hits with nine strikeouts over six innings. It was the rookie right-hander’s best outing since May 6, when he shut out the Indians over six innings.
After scoring only three runs in their previous 51 innings, the Mets exploded for three in the first against German. Todd Frazier, on the ninth pitch he saw in the at-bat, launched a solo homer for the Mets’ initial run. The blast was Frazier’s sixth of the season and first since his return from the disabled list on Tuesday. Brandon Nimmo followed with a triple before Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-run homer gave the Mets a 3-0 lead. It was a welcome contribution from the fourth spot in the order — entering play Mets’ cleanup hitters had only a .275 slugging percentage this season.
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