The Mets pulled out of their nosedive by snatching the final game in the Citi Field installment of the 2018 Subway Series on Sunday night.
The Mets had lost eight in a row and were on the verge of equaling the worst homestand in franchise history (0-9) when Seth Lugo, Todd Frazier, Robert Gsellman and Anthony Swarzak each put a hand on the stick and pulled back. Their performances carried the Mets to a 2-0 win over the Yankees before 36,171.
Lugo (2-1) — making the spot start for injured Noah Syndergaard — pitched six scoreless innings and left with a lead after Frazier’s two-run homer off Luis Severino in the fifth. Gsellman came out of the bullpen for two scoreless innings and Swarzak pitched the ninth to complete the three-hit shutout and earn his first save.
The Yankees were shut out for the first time, were held to a season-low three hits and had a four-game winning streak snapped. Moreover, the Mets handed Severino (9-2, 2.27 ERA), who allowed two runs in five innings, his first loss since April 10.
“That was tremendous. That was a big win,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “Beating their best pitcher and having a day off tomorrow to let that sink in? We need to get things rolling. It wasn’t a now-or-never situation today, but this is going to be real big for us moving forward.”
Said Frazier, “That was a big one not to get swept here by the Yankees.”
Severino, who entered the game 7-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his previous 10 starts, allowed a two-out single by Jose Reyes in the fifth. Frazier followed by hitting a 1-and-2 slider over the wall in left-center.
The Mets have found numerous ways to waste strong starting pitching during the past three weeks, and they gave it a heck of a try in the eighth.
Miguel Andujar singled with one out and Aaron Boone sent up Aaron Judge to pinch hit for reliever Adam Warren.
Judge hit a potential double-play grounder to shortstop Amed Rosario, who fired to second. Reyes — playing second after a hamstring injury forced Asdrubal Cabrera out of the game — caught the ball and threw wildly toward first base. The Yankees spotted that Reyes never touched the base before making the throw and — after an official review of 2:35 — Andujar was ruled safe at second.
The double error by Reyes brought the go-ahead run to the plate, but Gsellman escaped by getting Gleyber Torres to foul out and Brett Gardner to fly out.
“He did a great job staying in focus. That was a pretty long rest right there and he picked his teammate up,” Callaway said. “If we can pick our teammates up, we’re going to be the team we want to be. He did that tonight.”
“Obviously, we always feel like that big inning is in there for us,’’ Boone said. “So there’s always that belief and that confidence we have when the game is unfolding. Tonight, we gave ourselves a chance late. Just couldn’t get that hit to push it over the top. You credit them for getting it done against us tonight.”
In the ninth, Swarzak struck out Giancarlo Stanton and allowed a walk to Greg Bird before Gary Sanchez lined into a game-ending double play. Frazier gloved the liner and fired to catch Bird off first.
Lugo was supposed to throw only 75 pitches in his second start out of the bullpen and Gsellman was supposed to pitch only one inning in Callaway’s blueprint. He let each talk him into throwing an inning more. Lugo asked for the sixth and fanned Stanton looking with his 84th pitch to end it. Gsellman threw 12 pitches in a quick seventh and told Callaway “I’ve got this” as he returned to the dugout.
“It was 75 pitches [73, actually] and [Lugo] wanted to go back out and we needed him to go back out,” Callaway said. “Gsellman wasn’t supposed to go back out and he went back out. That’s how you do something special. That’s a tough lineup and they got the job done.”