Max Scherzer was beaten Monday night by Aaron Judge, who rocketed his 47th homer of the year in the Mets’ 4-2 loss to the Yankees, but the batter who bothered him most was Andrew Benintendi.
Benintendi reached base three times, drove in two runs and scored another against Scherzer, who was not his usual dominant self for a second outing in a row. He gave up four runs in 6 2⁄3 innings and has allowed more than three in consecutive starts for the first time all season.
“Give credit to the Yankees for what they were able to do,” Scherzer said, referring to the evening as “a grind of a start.” “But I can also look in the mirror and tell myself I can put the ball in better spots and execute better as well.”
Manager Buck Showalter said: “Let’s don’t act like he didn’t have a good outing. He was solid. There was nothing wrong with Max.”
With the Mets already trailing by two, Scherzer had Benintendi down 0-and-2, but he pulled a cutter down the first-base line for an RBI double. “That’s the execution that I’m kind of kicking myself on,” Scherzer said.
The Mets had trimmed the deficit to one by the bottom of the seventh when Benintendi stepped up with a runner on second. He pulled a solid single to rightfield for another RBI.
“I tip my hat to him,” Scherzer said. “You got to take some licks when you lose.”
Even though Scherzer lost his duel with Judge, it almost was worse. Judge smacked a long fly ball to rightfield in the fifth, with the crack of the bat and roar of the crowd making it sound like a potential homer until rightfielder Starling Marte caught it easily.
Scherzer twisted away from the mound and shouted, but it had less to do with the swing and result than the pitch. James McCann, his batterymate for both of these mediocre outings in place of his usual partner, Tomas Nido, had surprised him with the pitch location request.
“I thought we were going with a fastball, I thought we were trying to stay down there,” Scherzer said. “I’m in my leg kick, and all of a sudden I see McCann pop up way high. We talked about it. I understand what he was thinking. We kind of talked about that. I just wasn’t ready for it. It’s something we’ll try to adjust for so that we’re not in that situation again.”
Judge’s homer, a no-doubter to right, came in the third inning.
“I thought if I kept the ball down on Judge, I could keep him in the ballpark,” Scherzer said. “But he put a better swing on it, was able to hit a solo shot. But that’s not what lost the ballgame.”