Mets vs. Yankees score: Aaron Judge hits two homers to lead Yanks to comeback win on somber 9/11 anniversary

Aaron Judge Giancarlo Stanton New York Yankees
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On the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- a night of solemn remembrance at Citi Field in Queens and all around baseball -- the Yankees defeated the crosstown Yankees by a score of 8-7 (box score) in a game that spanned almost four hours. 

The game between the two teams from New York, the city most lacerated by those attacks of 2001, was rich with ceremony and tribute, but once the game began the focus was on a pair of fading contenders trying to muster a needed win. That game they played was a taut and back-and-forth one that provided plenty of drama

The Yankees barged to an early 5-0 lead thanks to a trio of home runs in the second inning -- including the 150th home run of Aaron Judge's career. However, Mets starter Taijuan promptly settled down, while Yankees starter Corey Kluber began to fall apart. The Mets added a trio of runs in the third and another in the fourth to cut the margin to a single run. In the sixth, the moved in front thanks to a two-run homer by James McCann. 

The Yankees, though, were not done, as Judge hit his second home run of the night to tie the score in the eighth, and then a Javy Baez throwing error allowed the go-ahead run to score. In the bottom of the ninth, Aroldis Chapman permitted the potential tying run to reach third base but was able to escape, thanks in part to some strong defensive play. 

With the outcome, the Yankees were able to snap their losing streak of seven games -- their longest losing streak of the season. The host Mets, meantime, fell back to a game below .500 ahead of the series finale on Sunday. 

Now for some takeaways from this one. 

Judge owned the night

As noted above, Judge homered twice and drove in three. His second homer, which moved the Yankees' chances of winning this game from less than 20 percent to roughly 50 percent, merits some color-television footage: 

That was Judge's second homer of the night. His first of the night was also the 150th of his career. That put him in rare company: 

As well, Judge made a nifty play in the field to record the first out of the ninth. Given that the Mets would soon thereafter put a runner 90 feet from tying the game, it was an even bigger play than it seemed at the time. 

For the season, Judge is now batting .294/.378/.538 with 32 home runs in 128 games. 

Kluber still hasn't been the answer for the Yankees

The Yankees this past offseason eschewed pricier known quantities for the rotation in favor of taking on Kluber as a reclamation project. That's defensible, at least in theory, as Kluber is a two-time Cy Young winner and has pitched at an ace level as recently as 2018. However, his recent injury issues are substantial, and he's also 35. 

While Kluber has had his moments -- including a May 19 no-hitter against the Rangers -- he hasn't been the stabilizer behind Gerrit Cole that the Yankees hoped he would be in 2021. On Saturday night against the Mets, he almost squandered a 5-0 lead he was staked to after two innings, and he lasted just four innings (allowing four runs). That's four straight starts in which he's failed to pitch into the fifth. Overall, Kluber's ERA for the season stands at 4.02, and he's on pace for the worst full-season K/BB ratio of his career. That's to say nothing of the fact that Kluber missed more than three months with a shoulder injury. 

This one had playoff implications

Coming into Saturday's slate, the SportsLine Projection System gave the Yankees a 35.4 percent chance of winning a wild card spot in the AL (they're given effectively no chance of catching the Rays for the division title). As for the Mets, they were given a meager 3.9 percent of making the postseason, mostly likely by winning the NL East. Now you can nudge the Yankees' figure up a bit and the Mets' down. 

For a little while, the Yankees were out of playoff position on Saturday night. That's because the Blue Jays swept their doubleheader in Baltimore and concluded the second game before the Yankees' win. So the Blue Jays were up by a half-game in the race for the second (and final) wild card spot until the final out settled in Judge's glove. Now, the two teams are tied for that spot. 

As for the Mets, the NL East-leading Braves also lost, so they remain five games back of Atlanta and in third place. The Mets also remain four games out of the second NL wild card spot. However, four teams -- the Padres, Reds, Cardinals, and Phillies -- are ahead of them in the queue. 

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September 12, 2021, 3:50 AM
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Alonso just missed it

Mets cloutsman Pete Alonso in the eight just missed putting his team back in front via clutch homer. Down by a run with two on and two out, Alonso blasted an Albert Abreu sinker at more than 100 mph off the bat and sent it 391 feet to one of the deepest parts of the park. Unfortunately for the Mets and Alonzo, it settled into Brett Gardner's glove on the warning track. Alonso's batted ball had an expected batting average of .540. The launch angle was 32 degrees, which was just a tad too high for it to leave the park. 

September 12, 2021, 3:28 AM
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Judge's big night

The Yankees had just an 18.8 percent chance of winning the game when Aaron Judge stepped to the plate with as the potential tying run in the eighth. He swiftly improved those odds at the expense of Trevor May:

That's Judge's 32nd homer of the season, and that also makes for his 15th career multi-homer game. That also gives the Yankees a coin-flip chance of winning this game. 

September 12, 2021, 2:57 AM
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A bright spot for McCann

Mets catcher James McCann has mostly struggled in his first season in Queens after signing a four-year, $40.6 million contract as a free agent. Coming into Saturday's game against the Yankees, he owed a batting line of .237/.299/.351, which is well shy of what the Mets hoped they would get from him, particularly in light of his productive 2019 and 2020. So consider his big go-ahead homer in the sixth to be a welcome reversal of fortunes for him. Here it is again: 

September 12, 2021, 2:43 AM
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@MLBONFOX via Twitter
September 12, 2021, 2:24 AM
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Walker settles down

Mets starter Taijuan Walker obviously had a rough second inning (five runs allowed), but the decision to stick with him is paying off. Since that carnage, Walker has retired 10 Yankees in a row. Corey Kluber, meantime, has all but frittered away what was once a 5-0 lead.

September 12, 2021, 1:36 AM
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September 12, 2021, 1:32 AM
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September 12, 2021, 1:31 AM
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