Eduardo Escobar touched home plate, tossed his helmet and began the sprint toward second base to celebrate with teammates.
The player they were chasing was Starling Marte, who delivered a walk-off RBI single in the ninth inning Wednesday night that gave the Mets a 3-2 victory over the Yankees at Citi Field for a two-game Subway Series sweep.
The Yankees own the better first-place record. But for now, at least, the Mets own city bragging rights.
“I like playing teams that like to win and also like to compete and battle because it forces us as players to reach a new level,” Marte said, wearing a green sombrero at his locker as the Mets’ offensive player of the game. “I like to showcase those skills, especially against those good teams.”
Escobar’s leadoff double in the ninth against Wandy Peralta fueled the winning rally. Tomas Nido sacrificed Escobar to third and Brandon Nimmo reached on an infield single before Marte, who struck out three times earlier in the game, ended it.
The Mets won their third straight and extended their NL East lead on the Braves to three games.
Gleyber Torres resurrected the Yankees with a two-run homer against David Peterson in the eighth that tied it 2-2. It came after Max Scherzer, on his 38th birthday, had manhandled the Yankees over seven shutout innings.
“You have got to want the ball in these type of situations and have got to go out there and face the best,” Scherzer said. “The Yankees, they are obviously one of the best teams in the AL for a reason. It’s fun to have them come to your park and get to face them and you want to beat them. You respect how good they are. That is what you measure yourself against is the best.”
The lefty Peterson walked Anthony Rizzo to begin the eighth before Torres homered over the right-field fence. The blast was the 16th of the season for Torres, who entered with an .846 OPS over his previous 18 games. Peterson was booed leaving the field, after striking out Matt Carpenter. Seth Lugo replaced Peterson and fired 1 ²/₃ scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
The Yankees went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, leaving them hitless in 15 at-bats in such situations for the series.
Scherzer most notably owned Aaron Judge, whom he struck out three times. The last of those showdowns came in the seventh, when Scherzer fed Judge a fourth slider in five pitches to strike him out with the tying runs on base. Scherzer stormed off the field to a jubilant Mets dugout, where his night’s work was celebrated.
“Max was ‘wow,’ ” manager Buck Showalter said. “Sometimes I caught myself spectating his competing out there.”
Overall, Scherzer allowed five hits and walked two with six strikeouts and one hit batter in lowering his ERA to 2.09. In five starts since returning from the injured list — he missed nearly seven weeks with a strained oblique — Scherzer has pitched to a 1.39 ERA with 45 strikeouts and four walks.
Scherzer faced his first big test in the third, when Judge batted with two runners on base — Aaron Hicks and DJ LeMahieu had each singled — and two outs. Scherzer threw five pitches to Judge, striking out the slugger with a fourth slider in the at-bat.
The Yankees had another shot against Scherzer in the fifth, after Josh Donaldson doubled leading off and Kyle Higashioka drew a two-out walk. But Scherzer retired LeMahieu on a line drive to Francisco Lindor, preserving the Mets’ two-run lead.
Pete Alonso’s homer off Domingo German leading off the second got the Mets started. The homer was Alonso’s 26th of the season and extended his MLB lead in RBIs to 84, a night after he reached base four times in a Mets victory.
“That is Pete, he is just a consistent competitor,” Showalter said. “There’s a lot of similarities between him and Max. They don’t ever have an off day competitively speaking. I have never had one ‘Woe is me moment’ with Pete. He just keeps grinding and he welcomes those expectations of the things he is capable of.”
Lindor delivered a broken-bat RBI single against German in the third inning that gave the Mets a 2-0 lead. Nido doubled leading off the inning.
German lasted 4 ²/₃ innings and allowed two earned runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. The right-hander was removed at 82 pitches in the fifth inning. Lindor and Alonso both walked in the inning, but were left stranded when Lucas Luetge retired Daniel Vogelbach.
“I said to Alonso when I got to first base, ‘This feels like a potential World Series matchup, it would be pretty cool,’ “ Carpenter said. “He said ‘I would love that.’ “