By MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge connected and there was no doubt about it.
Except how far the ball went.
Judge launched a titanic homer into the upper deck, Didi Gregorius snapped a seventh-inning tie with a two-run double and the New York Yankees beat the Mets 5-3 on Wednesday night for their third straight Subway Series victory .
After taking the first two matchups in the Bronx this week, the Yankees kept up their winning ways when the crosstown rivalry shifted to Queens. Making his Citi Field debut, Judge sent a solo shot into the third deck in left — an area rarely reached since the ballpark opened in 2009.
“That’s at least 500 feet,” Gregorius said. “That’s one of the furthest, I think.”
MLB Statcast projected the fourth-inning drive at 457 feet , but the Yankees weren’t buying that.
“If that ball only went 450, then no ball is ever going 500 feet because that was crushed,” Chase Headley said.
Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes never even budged as Judge’s AL-leading 37th home run soared way over his head. The rookie slugger didn’t watch, either, immediately putting his head down as he started to round the bases.
“When you hit it and you kind of know you got one, you just run the bases,” Judge said.
Back in the dugout, his giddy teammates showed him where the ball landed.
“They pointed to where it went. They let me know,” he said with a smile. “It’s pretty funny.”
Judge also singled and scored on Headley’s sacrifice fly in his first multihit game since July 18. But he struck out in the ninth to extend a dubious streak: Judge has fanned in 33 consecutive games, three shy of the record for a position player set by Adam Dunn from 2011-12.
The single-season mark now belongs to Judge, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He said the strikeouts don’t bother him, though.
“There’s great pitchers in this league. You’re going to get fooled sometimes. They’re gonna get you,” he said.
Rene Rivera homered for the Mets (53-65), who dropped 12 games under .500 for the first time since finishing 74-88 in 2013. They’ll try to prevent a four-game sweep by the Yankees in the series finale Thursday night.
Tommy Kahnle (2-3) retired both batters he faced for his first win with the Yankees. Adam Warren tossed two scoreless innings before David Robertson earned his 14th save , first since rejoining the Yankees. Regular closer Aroldis Chapman received a night off after his hamstring tightened up Tuesday.
“We have probably, if not the best, one of the best bullpens in the game right now after the acquisitions we’ve made,” Judge said. “Just hand it over to ’em.”
Robertson and Kahnle arrived in the same trade with the Chicago White Sox last month.
“Didn’t feel any different,” Robertson said.
With the score tied at 3, the Yankees loaded the bases in the seventh on Ronald Torreyes’ leadoff double and consecutive walks by Paul Sewald (0-5). Judge popped up for the second out before Gregorius lined a double into the right-field corner.
Cespedes and Travis d’Arnaud each had a sacrifice fly for the Mets. In his first start off the disabled list, rookie Robert Gsellman was charged with three runs — two earned — in 5 1/3 innings.
“I thought it was a solid outing,” Gsellman said. “Kept the ball down, was making pitches.”
Jaime Garcia also went 5 1/3 innings during his third outing for the Yankees. He allowed three runs and five hits.
Yankees: CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation) threw a 25-pitch bullpen and said he felt “really good.” The left-hander is expected to come off the disabled list and start Saturday in Boston. … RHP Masahiro Tanaka (shoulder inflammation) threw on flat ground and is scheduled for a bullpen session Thursday, manager Joe Girardi said. If everything goes well, Tanaka will likely come off the DL during next week’s series in Detroit. … All-Star setup man Dellin Betances was unavailable after pitching three straight days. … 1B Greg Bird (ankle surgery) began his rehab assignment at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and went 0 for 2.
Mets: 3B Wilmer Flores and 2B Jose Reyes were scratched from the lineup nearly 90 minutes before the game, both with a sore left rib cage. Asdrubal Cabrera was inserted at second, and d’Arnaud was shifted from catcher to third base. The Mets plan to call up an infielder or two from the minors Thursday. … RHP Matt Harvey (shoulder) tossed three shutout innings of one-hit ball in his second rehab outing for Class A Brooklyn. … All-Star closer Jeurys Familia worked a scoreless inning for Class A St. Lucie in his first rehab appearance since surgery for a blood clot in his shoulder.
The Mets said it was d’Arnaud’s first professional appearance at third base — though he spent much of the game playing second. The Mets flip-flopped Cabrera and d’Arnaud some 23 times depending on the batter and baserunners, hoping to keep the ball away from d’Arnaud. They were largely successful: His only chance in the field was a popup to second that he caught with a grin in the ninth. “I was fired up,” d’Arnaud said. “It was fun. … I wanted to make a diving play down the line, rob someone of a base hit like people do to me.”
Girardi reiterated that the scuffling Chapman remains his closer, assuming he’s healthy. “I have a ton of confidence in him,” the manager said. Chapman said Wednesday his hamstring was fine, according to Girardi, but the team wanted to put him through some paces to make sure.
Yankees RHP Luis Severino (9-5, 3.32 ERA) looks to bounce back from a terrible outing against Boston when he faces struggling lefty Steven Matz (2-6, 5.54) and the Mets on Thursday night.
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