Domingo German is listed at 6-2 and 175 pounds. When you look at him from behind, he seems too small for the 55 on his jersey — the number takes up most of his back.
But German has stood taller and had a larger impact on the Yankees than any of their other starters this season. The 26-year-old righthander returned from the injured list Wednesday night in the final game of this year’s second Subway Series and showed again why he is so important to the Yankees.
German, who had been out since June 9 with a strained left hip flexor, allowed one run in six innings as the Yankees beat the Mets, 5-1, before a sellout crowd of 43,323 at Citi Field.
And the ease with which he did it! After allowing a home run to Jeff McNeil on his first pitch of the night, German needed only 79 more pitches to get through six innings.
German (10-2) allowed five hits and did not walk a batter. He struck out six in lowering his ERA to 3.67.
“Stuff. Tempo. Command. Everything,” manager Aaron Boone answered when asked what he liked about German’s night. “That was kind of that good, dominant version of Domingo we saw so much the first couple months of the season. It was exciting to see him.
“Going in, 75, 80 [pitches] was kind of where we were going to push him if everything was going well. You’re kind of thinking four, maybe five innings. To get us through six innings like he did, great to have him back.”
The Yankees had a 5-1 lead when German was replaced by Chad Green to start the seventh. Green’s two scoreless innings and the one thrown by Nestor Cortes Jr. in the ninth cemented German’s team-best 10th victory (nine as a starter) and gave the Yankees a split in the two-game Citi Field series and also the four-game overall Subway Series.
Now, the dueling chants of “Let’s Go Mets” and “Let’s Go Yankees” will be put away for another summer. The Yankees will go on to what they hope is a season with a long October run. The Mets – unless they turn their disappointing season around lickety-split -- will go on to an uncertain future that may include tear-down deals before the July 31 trade deadline and oceans of empty seats in the second half at Citi Field.
"Every game for us right now the rest of the season is going to be huge because of where we’ve put ourself,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.
DJ LeMahieu led off the game against Jason Vargas (3-4) with a double to left and scored when Aaron Judge followed with a double to left-center. Gleyber Torres made it 2-0 two outs later with an RBI single. Before the game, Boone responded with incredulity to the news that Torres was not among the three players who were added to the AL All-Star Game roster as replacements Wednesday.
Boone called Torres’ exclusion a “joke” and “ridiculous” and added, “You can go kick rocks on that one.”
Torres, who went 2-for-4 and is batting .298 with 19 home runs, picked up another RBI (his 50th) with a single in the seventh off Wilmer Font. That made it 5-1.
Vargas had actually kept the game 2-1 after each team scored in the first inning. The Yankees had at least one baserunner in each of his innings, but didn’t dent the scoreboard again until Didi Gregorius measured up a 73-mile per hour changeup and sent it over the wall in right-center for a solo homer with one out in the sixth.
Gregorius’ fourth homer ended Vargas’ night. Callaway brought in Font, who allowed an immediate home run to Gio Urshela to give the Yankees a 4-1 advantage.