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Yankees win Subway opener with trio of HRs

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez all connected for the 40th home runs of their Major League careers on Monday evening, powering the Yankees to a much-needed 4-2 victory over the Mets in the opening game of this year's Subway Series.

Judge tied the game in the sixth, launching his American League-leading 36th homer off Rafael Montero, and Hicks tattooed a Hansel Robles heater to give the Yanks the lead in the eighth.

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NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez all connected for the 40th home runs of their Major League careers on Monday evening, powering the Yankees to a much-needed 4-2 victory over the Mets in the opening game of this year's Subway Series.

Judge tied the game in the sixth, launching his American League-leading 36th homer off Rafael Montero, and Hicks tattooed a Hansel Robles heater to give the Yanks the lead in the eighth.

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"We're still taking everything one pitch at a time, one game at a time," said Judge, who has hit six homers since the All-Star break. "That's what we did tonight. We battled to the end and were able to come out with the win."

Judging by results, slugger turning corner

Sanchez's solo blast in the eighth added insurance as the Yanks inched within 4 1/2 games of the Red Sox in the American League East. Boston fell, 7-3, to Cleveland.

Video: NYM@NYY: Betances strikes out Rosario to get the save

"We're chasing in our division. We need to win games," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We look up and Boston loses tonight, and basically, we're right back to where we started Friday. To come from behind is important."

Video: NYM@NYY: Sanchez unloads a solo smash to right in 8th

Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes slugged solo homers in support of Montero's quality six-inning effort, going deep off Luis Cessa, who started in place of the injured Masahiro Tanaka and allowed two runs over 4 1/3 frames before leaving with tightness in his right upper back. Cessa is scheduled to have an MRI on Tuesday morning.

Video: NYM@NYY: Granderson launches a solo homer to right

"I don't think it's too serious, but we've got to check it out," Girardi said.

Chad Green was dominant in relief for the Yanks, striking out four over 2 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings. It was just the Yanks' fifth victory in 13 games this month.

"We know they're dangerous in this park," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You're not satisfied two runs is going to hold up in Yankee Stadium. The issue was we couldn't add on -- which is one way to put an end to it, is to add on -- and their bullpen shut us down."

Collins: Montero, Robles 'have work to do'

Video: NYM@NYY: Girardi discusses Hicks' key homer in win

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
There it goes again: Activated from the disabled list late last week, Hicks does not appear to have missed a beat in his breakout season despite losing 39 team games to a right oblique injury. The switch-hitter has now homered twice in his last four games, establishing a new career high with 12 homers. Robles pointed to the sky, but no one was bringing that one back. Hicks also scored the Yanks' first run on a Sanchez sac fly.

Video: NYM@NYY: Hicks crushes a go-ahead homer in the 8th

"It's something that our team definitely has," Hicks said. "We're a deep lineup that has the ability to hit homers, and it can change the outcome of a game."

"It was just one failed pitch," Robles said. "He connected really well with the ball."

All rise: Judge has been in an extended slide, striking out for the 31st consecutive game on Monday, but he may be getting back to his bread and butter. The rookie slugger did not get all of Montero's sixth-inning fastball, but he still was able to power it out to right-center. The Yankees have resisted moving Judge out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup, believing he is closer to recapturing his first-half form than the numbers might indicate.

Video: NYM@NYY: Judge ties the game with his 36th homer

"It's driving it the other way, which tells you that mechanically he's more sound," Girardi said. "When we look at him, yeah, he's pulled some home runs, but we've seen a number of them to right field and center field. He's made some adjustments and he's more comfortable in the box."

QUOTABLE
"It's a difficult task for any team when you've got young players who aren't used to seeing that kind of good pitching one after another. It's really hard. That's why I say one of the things we're going to get out of this series, no matter what the outcomes are score-wise, is our young players are going to know what to expect when you're facing real good teams." -- Collins, on facing the Yankees' bullpen

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Judge, Hicks and Sanchez all hit their 40th career homers. Sanchez is the third-fastest to 40, doing so in 139 games, and Judge is right behind him at 140 games. Only Mark McGwire (110 games) and Rudy York (129 games) were ahead of the teammates' pace.

WHAT'S NEXT
Mets: Jacob deGrom will highlight the Subway Series' premier pitching matchup Tuesday when he and Sonny Gray square off in the last of two games at Yankee Stadium. Though deGrom holds a 3.32 lifetime ERA against the Yankees, he lost his only previous start in the Bronx. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Yankees: Gray will make his first start in home pinstripes on Tuesday evening as the Yankees and Mets complete the Bronx leg of the Subway Series. The Yankees have yet to score a run in the 12 innings Gray has worked for them. Gray will be facing the Mets for the first time in his career.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.

Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge