NEW YORK — Even though this Mets team is different from most of its predecessors, with more realistic postseason aspirations, the fog of past seasons can be difficult to disperse. So when the Yankees strutted into Citi Field on Tuesday and immediately hammered consecutive homers over the fence, the Bronx portion of a sold-out crowd made its confidence known.
It was loud and it was antagonistic, until the Mets did something they’ve accomplished so infrequently over the decades-long run of this rivalry: they punched back.
Four of the first six Mets batters clubbed extra-base hits in the bottom of the first inning, including Starling Marte and Eduardo Escobar, who both homered. The resulting lead held through the middle innings and onto the end game, when Edwin Díaz nailed down the final four outs of a 6-3 win over the Yankees.
Since 1997, fans have circled the Subway Series on their calendars, selling out stadiums in the Bronx and Queens. Most years, however, those matches offered little more than bragging rights; only rarely have the Mets and Yankees both entered a Subway Series with playoff aspirations.
This year promised to be different, marking the first time the Mets and Yankees each began a Subway Series in sole possession of first place in their respective divisions.