A year after demotion, Voit lifts Yanks over Mets 12-5
NEW YORK (AP) — A year ago this week, Luke Voit was demoted to Double-A by the St. Louis Cardinals. Now he’s vying for an All-Star selection and a spot in the Home Run Derby.
“It’s crazy, man,” he said after his tiebreaking three-run homer off Zack Wheeler in a five-run fourth inning led the New York Yankees over the Mets 12-5 Tuesday in the opener of a day-night Subway Series doubleheader.
Voit has 30 home runs in 102 games since the Yankees acquired him from St. Louis last July 28 for pitchers Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos. The 28-year-old took over at first base from the repeatedly injured Greg Bird and has 16 homers this year. He is the leader at his position in the first results of fan voting for All-Star starters.
“This team is giving me a lot of confidence to go out and do my job every day,” he said. “It’s just having fun in the locker room. I never feel like I’m a deadbeat.”
He made his big league debut with St. Louis in 2017 but was stuck behind Matt Carpenter and then José Martinez. Voit spent parts of five seasons in the Cardinals minor league season but had just five home runs in 70 games in the big leagues at the time of the trade.
“There’s nothing worse than when you’re in the minor leagues and you’re hitting good, too, and you’re just stuck,” he said. “There’s been multiple guys throughout the history of baseball that have been in that same situation, and for me to finally get a chance, you don’t want to ever look back on it and you want to roll with it.”
Gio Urshela hit a tying, two-run homer in the fourth, had four RBIs and was a triple short of the cycle, ending a stretch of 15 at-bats without a hit.
Gary Sánchez had three RBIs and tied for the AL lead with his 20th home run, a two-run drive against Tim Peterson in the eighth.
Masahiro Tanaka (4-5) gave up a three-run homer to Jeff McNeil that put the Mets ahead 4-1 in the third but rebounded to win for the first time in a month.
James Paxton (3-2) was set to start the second game for the Yankees and Jason Vargas (2-3) for the Mets in a matchup of left-handers.
Less than one-quarter of the seats were filled for the start of the makeup of Monday night’s rainout. Despite brilliant sunshine on the late spring afternoon, the usual crowd buzz for the matchup of New York rivals was absent.
“There was a lot of Mets fans here,” Voit said. “You could hear the guys in the stands giving us trouble. It was entertaining.”
Third baseman Todd Frazier made a throwing error on a two-out grounder in the fourth. After a walk, Voit’s homer on a slider put the Yankees ahead. The Yankees made three errors and the Mets two.
“It’s on me. The end of that inning is on me,” Frazier said.
Pitching on six days’ rest after the birth of his daughter Friday and the rainout, Tanaka allowed five runs — four earned — and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. He had been 0-2 in four starts since winning May 12 at Tampa Bay.
The Mets have lost 18 of their last 22 road games, At 32-34, they have not been over .500 since May 3.
Wheeler (5-4) gave up a career-high nine runs — five earned — and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings. Coming off a five-hit shutout of San Francisco, he has not won consecutive starts this year, and his 13 home runs allowed are one shy of his 2018 total.
“My slider wasn’t very good today. The changeup wasn’t really working,” Wheeler said. “The fastball was about the only thing going for me.”
This was the fifth doubleheader between the teams. The Yankees swept the first three before a split in 2008.
Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner made a sprawling backhand catch on McNeil leading off the game.
Mets: 2B Robinson Canó (left quadriceps), OF Brandon Nimmo (neck) and LHP Justin Wilson (left elbow) were to play for Triple-A Syracuse against Charlotte. ... RHP Noah Syndergaard left before the opener because of strep throat.
Yankees: RHP Dellin Betances strained his lat muscle while pitching to batters in a simulated game on Friday and won’t throw for a few weeks, manager Aaron Boone said. Betances has not pitched in a game since March 17 because of a right shoulder impingement. ... OF-DH Giancarlo Stanton went 2 for 4 with a solo home run as the DH for Class A Tampa in a doubleheader opener. Sidelined by biceps, shoulder and calf injuries, Stanton has not played for the Yankees since March 31 and reinjured himself May 20 on the first day of his previous rehab assignment. ... RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (right shoulder) threw on flat ground for the first time since May 9.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (3-6) starts Thursday when the Mets open a homestand against St. Louis and RHP Jack Flaherty (4-3).
Yankees: LHP J.A. Happ (6-3) is likely to start Thursday’s series opener at the Chicago White Sox.