Poised to overcome the worst start of Gerrit Cole’s time in pinstripes, the Yankees could not overcome another meltdown by Aroldis Chapman on Sunday. They gave up six runs in the seventh inning and lost to the Mets, 10-5, in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees won Game 2, 4-2, behind Gio Urshela's three-run homer and Chad Green's three perfect innings.
Shortly after Game 1 ended — in what may be a record for the most awkwardly timed announcement ever — Cole and Chapman were named to the American League roster for the All-Star Game. Both were selected on the players’ ballot and will join starter Aaron Judge at the July 13 game in Denver.
For Yankees fans, it had to be hard to care about that honor after another crushing defeat.
With the Yankees leading 5-4 entering the final regulation inning of the seven-inning game, Chapman — in his first appearance since blowing that four-run lead over the Angels on Wednesday — gave up a leadoff home run on a 1-and-2 slider to Pete Alonso, who blasted a drive into the Mets’ bullpen in left-center.
One pitch earlier, Alonso had swung through a high 97-mph fastball. Manager Aaron Boone said of the slider: "I don’t think that was the right spot for that."
Boone could have left in Green to face Alonso after he threw only two pitches to get out of a jam in the sixth. Boone said he wanted to save Green for Game 2 in case he needed "length" in the nightcap. As it turned out, he did.
After the homer, Chapman hit Michael Conforto on the back of the right shoulder with a 100-mph fastball on 0-and-2 and walked Jeff McNeil before he was removed.
Chapman was booed as he walked to the dugout by the Yankees fans in the crowd of 42,714, just as Cole had been booed when he was pulled with one out in the fourth and the Yankees in the process of blowing a 4-1 lead.
After Chapman left, the Mets scored five more runs with Lucas Luetge on the mound. Jose Peraza drove in the go-ahead runs with a bases-loaded drive that was caught by a fan in a Mets jersey leaning over the leftfield wall. Tim Locastro had no chance to catch the ball and it would not have cleared the fence. The umpires huddled and ruled it a two-run double, and the Mets had a 7-5 lead.
Brandon Nimmo followed with a two-run single and Francisco Lindor added an RBI single. Chapman (5-3) was charged with the first three runs.
In their last two tag-team appearances, Chapman and Luetge have allowed 13 runs, nine hits, five walks and a hit batsman in two innings while turning two victories into defeats.
The Yankees, who had lost seven of eight entering the Game 2 victory, gave up seven runs in the ninth on Wednesday in an 11-8 loss to the Angels.
"It’s another awful loss," Boone said between games. "There’s no other way to put it."
The fourth-place Yankees are 10 games behind Boston. Understatement alert: It’s not looking good in the Bronx right now.
"We have the talent in the room," Cole said. "We need to continue to fight. Anything’s possible."
Chapman, speaking before the All-Star announcement, said he would be surprised to get the nod because of his struggles. Although he didn’t give up an earned run in his first 18 innings, his ERA is 4.71. In his last two outings, in which he has recorded one out, he has been charged with seven runs and allowed two tying home runs, four walks and a hit batsman.
Said Boone: "Obviously, we’ve got to continue to work to get him right."
Cole’s outing is sure to reignite the question of whether MLB’s crackdown on pitchers using foreign substances has negatively affected the Yankees’ ace.
In his first 11 starts, he had a 1.78 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. In six starts in June-July, he has a 5.24 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.
Handed a 4-1 lead after three innings, Cole went 3 1⁄3 innings and was charged with four runs. It was his shortest start as a Yankee and only the third time in his career he failed to get through four. Asked if he felt he let the team down, he said: "Oh, yeah. We have four runs and a short game. Absolutely."
Cole left with the Yankees ahead by one and the bases loaded. The Mets tied it at 4 on Lindor’s single off Jonathan Loaisiga.
The Yankees scored three runs in the second against Marcus Stroman on a two-run double by Kyle Higashioka and a sacrifice fly by Locastro. Two of the runs were unearned because of Lindor’s error.
After the Mets tied it, the Yankees retook the lead in the fifth when Stroman threw a wild pitch over Luke Voit’s head that allowed Giancarlo Stanton to score.