Taijuan Walker took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, Brandon Nimmo provided a spark in his return from the injured list and the Mets beat the Yankees, 8-3, on Saturday to open a three-game set.
Mets fans delighted over an easy victory in the Bronx, and their “Let’s go Mets” chants got minimal pushback at this Subway Series opener, with many Yankees fans sensing this season has already gone off the rails.
The Mets already led 8-0 when Aaron Judge homered with one out in the sixth to end Walker’s bid for an eighth no-hitter in the majors this season. He was lifted after 5 and two-thirds innings having allowed two runs, two hits and two walks, striking out five on 106 pitches.
“He’s been like another ace,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “We talk about Jacob deGrom. Taijuan has been like another ace for us.”
Walker’s E.R.A. rose slightly to 2.44, continuing a breakout season after he signed a $23 million, three-year free-agent contract in February. The Mets are pushing for the 28-year-old right-hander to be a first-time All-Star when rosters are revealed Sunday.
“I’m definitely anxious to find out,” Walker said. “But right now, it’s out of my hand.”
Walker (7-3) got a standing ovation as he left from thousands of Mets fans among the season-high crowd of 40,047 at Yankee Stadium — the highest attendance for either New York team since before the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was felt,” Rojas said. “It was loud, it was electric. I think the guys missed it.”
Playing for the first time since a brutal 11-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, the Yankees slogged through another frustrating defeat with just three hits, all in the sixth inning. They have dropped six of seven and fell to 41-40 after starting the day nine and a half games behind Boston, which leads the American League East.
“We can talk about it until we’re blue in the face,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ve got to put together complete games, especially when we’re going up against good opponents.”
Nimmo had three hits along with a hard lineout in his first game since a detached hand ligament sidelined him two months ago. He lifted his average to .333 and his on-base percentage to .435 after struggling during a minor league rehab assignment.
“I did surprise myself a little bit,” Nimmo said. “But I was really, really glad to be able to help, be able to get on base, be able to create some traffic for some guys, and guys really came through with some big hits.”
Jordan Montgomery (3-3) stranded five Mets base runners over the first three innings to keep it scoreless, but the visitors broke through in the fifth.
Nimmo hit a one-out single, Francisco Lindor followed with another and Dominic Smith scored Nimmo from second with a single up the middle.
Montgomery walked Pete Alonso to load the bases and was replaced by Lucas Luetge. James McCann made it 2-0 with a broken-bat single, and Smith scored from third on a wild pitch for a three-run lead before Luetge ended the inning.
The Mets batted around during a five-run sixth inning that included a two-run double by Smith and another two-run hit by Kevin Pillar. All the runs were charged to Justin Wilson.
Smith had three hits and three R.B.I., and Lindor had two hits and two walks.
Yankees reliever Michael King allowed two inherited runners to score but was credited with four scoreless innings with nine strikeouts.
Yankee Stadium was filled nearly to capacity despite sporadic showers after Friday’s scheduled opener was postponed by rain. Blue and orange was well represented.
Some Yankees fans tried to drown out “Let’s go Mets” chants with boos, but they had little to cheer about themselves. The Yankees’ follies were frustratingly familiar — a passed ball by catcher Gary Sanchez, an error by shortstop Gleyber Torres, and, of course, the lack of offense from anyone besides Judge.
“I don’t count this team out at all,” said the Yankees’ slugger Luke Voit, who was 0 for 3 and is hitting .188.