By Anthony DiComo and Joshua Needelman
NEW YORK -- Lest they endure a second night of indignity following their Trade Deadline shopping spree, the Mets bludgeoned the Yankees, 7-1, on Tuesday in one of their finest overall team performances of the season.
Alejandro De Aza hit a two-run homer off Masahiro Tanaka in the third inning and the Mets piled on with a four-run rally in the seventh, splitting two games with the Yankees at Citi Field. The series will move to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday for the first of two additional games.
"We all experienced last year, coming back and taking over," said Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who also homered. "We've all just got to believe."
The offensive outburst proved significant for a Mets team that geared its Trade Deadline machinations around an impact bat, Jay Bruce, who arrived earlier in the day from Cincinnati. It was also a boon for starting pitcher Jacob deGrom, who has ranked among the league's least-supported starting pitchers all season. Given plenty of wiggle room on this night, deGrom blanked the Yankees over seven innings.
"I want to win every game I go out there," deGrom said.
The only player in the Mets' starting lineup who did not record at least one hit was Bruce, who finished 0-for-4 on "a whirlwind day," striking out with two men in scoring position and one out in the seventh. Jonathon Niese, another Trade Deadline acquisition, allowed a Didi Gregorius solo homer in the ninth to break up the Mets' shutout.
The Yankees endured fruitless stat lines up and down their roster, mustering four hits and a walk off deGrom. A day after trading Carlos Beltran as part of a larger roster breakup, they fell back to a .500 record.
"Some of the guys I played with for two years and I got to know them personally. So it's very disappointing to see those guys away," Tanaka said through a translator. "It's sad, but at the same time, I understand."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Catching fire: So beleaguered early this season that fans routinely called for his outright release, De Aza has caught fire since the start of July, reaching base in nearly 50 percent of his plate appearances over that stretch. Though he reached just once in this game, it was significant: a two-run homer over the right-field fence, opening the scoring off Tanaka in the third. More >
"Great, great," was how De Aza described his renaissance. "I'm having an opportunity to be out there, and try to help the team win games."
Unlucky No. 7: Facing a Mets offense derided for its inability to produce with runners in scoring position, Tanaka struggled mightily. He left after 6 1/3 innings having allowed a career-high seven earned runs, three of which came on homers. More >
"Just gave up some easy hits and just wasn't able to do a good job out there," Tanaka said. "When you're facing a good pitcher like that you can't really give up runs."
deGrominate: Aside from one poor start in Miami, deGrom has been remarkably consistent over the past two months, with a 2.06 ERA overall since May 27. After escaping jams in the first and second on Tuesday, deGrom retired 12 Yankees in a row.
"I feel like my mechanics are where they need to be," deGrom said. "I can feel it. I'm more in line with the plate. … Now that it's in line, it's a lot easier to repeat my delivery."
Still here, for now:Alex Rodriguez, who reportedly might be released before the conclusion of the season, pinch-hit for Anthony Swarzak with two outs in the ninth and popped out to right. It was his first appearance of the series. More >
"My plans are for him to be there tomorrow with us," manager Joe Girardi said. "There's been no discussion of [his release]."
"Other than running to the other dugout, I was pretty comfortable." -- Bruce, on his debut
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The game was the Mets' eighth sellout of the season, setting a new regular-season record for most sellouts at Citi Field. Tuesday's official paid attendance was 42,819.
FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
Still nursing a sore right quadriceps muscle that has bothered him since before the All-Star break, Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes entered as a pinch-hitter with two men on base in the seventh. Cespedes struck an RBI single off second baseman Starlin Castro, hustling down the line to beat the throw and make it a 6-0 game. The Mets immediately replaced him with a pinch-runner.
"I felt a little discomfort running down the line, but once I got into the dugout, it went away," Cespedes said through an interpreter. "It's a little difficult. I'm here to play baseball. That's what I enjoy. Not playing on a consistent basis is a little tough because I can lose my timing."
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees:Chad Green slides into the vacant rotation spot left by Ivan Nova, who was traded to the Pirates, when the Yankees host the Mets at Yankee Stadium at 7:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Girardi said things lined up perfectly for Green, as he last pitched during Nova's final start and threw 67 pitches.
Mets:Steven Matz will start when the Mets move to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday for the final two games of this year's Subway Series. The American League rules will afford the Mets the opportunity to use Cespedes, who has been out of the starting lineup more often than not lately due to a sore right quad, as their designated hitter.