NEW YORK – With two first-place teams on the field, the New York Mets made this Subway Series a one-way ride.
Starling Marte singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Mets beat the crosstown Yankees 3-2 Wednesday night for a two-game sweep.
Max Scherzer was marvelous on his 38th birthday, striking out Aaron Judge three times to help the Mets take a 2-0 lead into the eighth. Gleyber Torres tied it with a two-run homer off reliever David Peterson, normally a starter.
“Every time Max had to make a pitch, he made it,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “Just so strong mentally.”
After the game, the slumping Yankees boosted their lineup by acquiring All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals in a trade for three minor league pitchers.
“It’s another great hitter," manager Aaron Boone said. "I’ll be excited to write his name in.”
Pete Alonso homered early off Domingo Germán, and Francisco Lindor had an RBI single for the Mets before a sellout crowd of 43,693 at Citi Field.
Making his Subway Series debut, Scherzer permitted five hits over seven innings and struck out six — including Judge in two big situations. The Yankees went 0 for 15 with runners in scoring position during the series.
“Actually, I thought we played a really good game,” Boone said. “I thought we had the right at-bats against Scherzer. We hit into some tough luck in some big spots.”
Eduardo Escobar doubled on the first pitch from Wandy Peralta (2-3), who entered in the ninth on his 31st birthday. Escobar advanced on a sacrifice bunt by No. 9 batter Tomás Nido, who doubled and scored earlier.
Escobar held at third when Brandon Nimmo reached on an infield single that a lunging Peralta was unable to corral cleanly. Marte, who struck out his first three times up, then ripped a line drive into left field over a drawn-in infield.
Marte was swarmed by excited teammates as the Mets celebrated their ninth walk-off win against the Yankees and first Subway Series sweep since May 2014 in the Bronx.
“That’s all I wanted for my birthday, so that’s what we got,” Scherzer said.
In the clubhouse, Mets players gifted Marte with an enormous, gaudy, green sombrero.
“We like playing in situations like that,” he said through a translator.
Seth Lugo (2-2) struck out three in 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.
The Mets extended their NL East lead to three games over Atlanta with their seventh victory in the last nine meetings against the Yankees. This series marked only the second time the city rivals were both in first place when they squared off — the other came in April 2015.
With the Mets’ triumph on this night, the Empire State Building in Manhattan was set to be lit in blue and orange.
The teams will play two more times this season in late August at Yankee Stadium.
Scuffling through an extended stretch for the first time all year, the AL East-leading Yankees finished a 2-5 road trip coming out of the All-Star break. They’ve dropped 10 of their last 15 games.
“We know we’re really good, and we know we’re going to hit a snag in the season," Boone said. “We actually embrace a little bit of adversity. We’ll power our way through it, there’s no question in my mind.”
Judge, who leads the majors with 38 home runs, fanned three times on sliders from Scherzer. The first came with two on to end the third, and the last with runners at the corners to finish the seventh.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner walked coolly off the mound before emphatically slapping high-fives with teammates in the dugout.
“He’s one of the best in the game for a reason,” Judge said. “I have to try and stay in my zone and he got me to expand a little bit and made some great pitches.”
Scherzer also worked out of trouble in the fifth, when DJ LeMahieu lined out to shortstop with two on, and sixth, when a frustrated Josh Donaldson slammed down his helmet after grounding out to the pitcher on a slider with runners at the corners.
“This is fun. This is for bragging rights of New York,” said Scherzer, who has a 0.82 ERA in five starts on his birthday. “They’re a great team, they’ve got a great lineup and it’s fun to compete in the atmosphere like this.”
Yankees: RHP Michael King had surgery on his fractured right elbow. Boone said the team probably won't know for at least a couple of months whether to expect King back for spring training next year. ... LHP Zack Britton (Tommy John surgery) threw another bullpen and is scheduled to face hitters sometime in the next 10 days or so, but Boone doesn't want to place any expectations on whether the reliever can return by September.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (right scapula stress reaction) threw 67 pitches over four innings for Triple-A Syracuse in what’s expected to be his last minor league rehab outing before rejoining New York’s rotation next week. "The plan right now if everything progresses well is to pitch for us next time,” Showalter said. The two-time Cy Young Award winner hasn't appeared in a major league game since July 7, 2021. ... RHP Trevor May (right triceps inflammation) worked one inning for Syracuse in the same game. ... C James McCann (left oblique strain) is headed to Double-A Binghamton on a rehab assignment.
Yankees: Welcome struggling Kansas City to the Bronx on Thursday night. Jameson Taillon (10-2, 3.93 ERA) pitches for New York against Brady Singer (4-3, 3.82 ERA) in the opener of a seven-game homestand.
Mets: Following their second day off this week, the Mets face Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara (9-4, 1.81 ERA) on Friday night for the fourth time since June 19. New York RHP Chris Bassitt (7-7, 3.72 ERA) pitches the series opener in Miami.
More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports