NEW YORK -- The general sense in the Yankees' universe was that they had caught something of a break when an issue with Noah Syndergaard's right index finger prompted him to be scratched from his scheduled start on Sunday evening. They were not counting on Seth Lugo replacing the star
NEW YORK -- The general sense in the Yankees' universe was that they had caught something of a break when an issue with Noah Syndergaard's right index finger prompted him to be scratched from his scheduled start on Sunday evening. They were not counting on Seth Lugo replacing the star right-hander in every sense of the term.
Lugo fired six dominant innings in a spot start and Todd Frazier hit a fifth-inning homer off Luis Severino as the Mets handed the Yankees their first shutout loss of the season, avoiding a Subway Series sweep with a 2-0 decision that concluded the Queens portion of this year's intracity rivalry.
"You never want to lose a game going into an off-day, because you've got longer to think about it, but we've been playing great," Brett Gardner said. "We've been throwing the ball well and we've been scoring some runs -- except for tonight."
Severino pitched well over five innings, aside from a slider that Frazier slugged over the left-field wall, and said that he lobbied manager Aaron Boone not to end his night. But the Yankees have concerns about Severino's recent workload, having fired 308 pitches over his last three starts and 31 pitches in the first inning on Sunday.
"I was a little bit surprised," Severino said. "I had  pitches. I knew inside of me I could go one more inning over there. They told me no. I've been throwing a lot of pitches in these past few games so they wanted me to rest."
Boone felt that it was a good time to go to the bullpen in part because the Bombers' bats had been stifled by the 28-year-old Lugo, who scattered two hits while striking out eight with a walk. Beginning in the second inning, Mets hurlers retired 17 straight before a Yankees threat fell by the wayside in the eighth.
"We always feel that big inning is in there for us," Boone said. "There's always that belief and that confidence that we have when the game is unfolding. We had a very successful trip overall; we didn't necessarily swing the bats great but … we gave ourselves a chance late."
In the ninth, Greg Bird worked a one-out walk against Anthony Swarzak to bring up the ice-cold Gary Sanchez. A hard liner went straight to Frazier at third base for a game-ending double play, leaving Sanchez with four hits to show for his last 53 at-bats (.075) and crediting Swarzak with his first save as a Met.
"That can be a little frustrating, when you're scuffling and you square one up right at someone," Boone said.
The Yankees' offense has settled into an all-or-nothing groove of late. Eighteen of the Yanks' last 19 runs have come via the homer, including clutch blasts by Gardner in Friday's 4-1 win and round-trippers by Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and Aaron Judge in Saturday's 4-3 victory, but the deep drive they needed on Sunday never materialized.
"We put some guys on base but just didn't come up with the big hit," Gardner said. "Gary hit the ball hard there at the end of the game. If that ball gets down there in the corner for a double, maybe that game ends differently."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Yankees caught a break in the eighth inning as Andujar raked a one-out single and Judge came off the bench to pinch-hit, rolling the first pitch of his at-bat against Mets reliever Robert Gsellman to shortstop Amed Rosario.
Patrolling second base, Reyes tried for two outs but recorded none, missing the bag before firing errantly toward the first-base dugout. The golden opportunity was missed as Gsellman recovered, getting Torres to foul out and inducing Gardner to fly out to left field.
"We were looking to take advantage of a mistake that they made," Gardner said. "Gleyber and I just weren't able to get anything done after that. We just came up a little short tonight."
The Yankees are the final Major League team to be shut out this season. They had not been blanked since Aug. 10, 2017, a 4-0 loss to the Blue Jays. The Mets have not shut out the Yankees since June 18, 2010, a 4-0 loss at Yankee Stadium.
Following an off-day on Monday, the Yankees return to action on Tuesday as they open a two-game Interleague series with the Nationals at Yankee Stadium. Carsten Sabathia (3-1, 3.59 ERA) will get the call after snapping a five-start winless streak in his last outing, hurling seven innings of two-run, three-hit ball in a 7-2 victory over the Blue Jays. Tanner Roark (3-6, 3.56 ERA) will start for Washington in the 7:05 p.m. ET contest.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.