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Paxton's Subway Series debut quickly goes awry

Lefty chased in the third as Yankees settle for split vs. Mets in Bronx
@BryanHoch
June 11, 2019

NEW YORK -- James Paxton proved to be virtually unhittable through his first five trips to the Yankee Stadium mound in pinstripes, showcasing the electric three-pitch mix that tantalized the Yankees when the left-hander's name surfaced in trade talks this past offseason. Paxton's introduction to the Subway Series brought a

NEW YORK -- James Paxton proved to be virtually unhittable through his first five trips to the Yankee Stadium mound in pinstripes, showcasing the electric three-pitch mix that tantalized the Yankees when the left-hander's name surfaced in trade talks this past offseason.

Paxton's introduction to the Subway Series brought a reversal to those fortunes, as he was chased early from Tuesday's 10-4 loss to the Mets. The lopsided defeat forced the Yankees to settle for a split of the day-night doubleheader, bringing into focus their continuing search to solidify the starting rotation.

Box score

"I had a lot of success here this year. Tonight was a bad one," Paxton said. "It's not my first tough one and I'm sure it's not going to be my last, but I've dealt with failure before. I'll bounce back like I have before."

Paxton had permitted just one earned run through his first 26 2/3 innings in The Bronx this season, but he was in trouble almost immediately on Tuesday night. Jeff McNeil opened the game with a double, trotted to third on a J.D. Davis single and all three runs scored as Pete Alonso cracked his 22nd home run.

The Mets continued to put good at-bats on Paxton in the third inning, and Yankees manager Aaron Boone believed that he saw signs of fatigue as the hurler neared the end of his 63-pitch effort. Michael Conforto, Wilson Ramos and Adeiny Hechavarria smacked run-scoring singles off Paxton, who was charged with six runs and seven hits over 2 2/3 innings.

"I feel like we have guys capable of going out and pitching well for us," Boone said. "Especially tonight after we got that first game, I felt great about handing the ball to Pax. I do feel like he's close to being the guy we all believe he is. Hopefully that starts for him the next time out."

Three starts after coming off the injured list, Paxton said that his left knee and the brace he is wearing to protect it had no effect in his shortest start of the year.

"I don't think that's been an issue," Paxton said. "I just think for me it has been a little bit of a rough stretch right now. I've got to get back to work and figure out what I need to do to get back to helping this team win."

The Yankees had coasted to a 12-5 victory in the afternoon contest, as their bats loudly supported a so-so effort from Masahiro Tanaka. After collecting 15 hits -- nine for extra bases -- in the day game, the Yankees were largely stymied by soft-tossing lefty Jason Vargas. New York's only extra-base hit came in the ninth inning on a Brett Gardner homer.

A bases-loaded, none-out opportunity was converted into three runs in the third inning, with Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier and Gio Urshela picking up RBIs, but the Mets answered in the fourth as Davis slugged a two-run homer off Chance Adams.

Carlos Gomez added a fifth-inning homer off Adams, who was promoted from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to serve as the Yankees’ 26th man for the twin bill. Boone has mentioned Adams as a candidate to step into the rotation as the fifth starter on Saturday at Chicago, taking the place of the injured Domingo German.

"It's a little bit of a challenge with what we're going through, but the guys are capable of getting it done," Boone said.

Whatever decisions are made will take place against the backdrop of Dallas Keuchel landing with the Braves over a matter of less than $2 million, as the Yankees declined to increase their offer past the pro-rated amount of the $17.9 million qualifying offer that Keuchel rejected this past offseason from the Astros.

That paints general manager Brian Cashman in the position of once again going to the open market to solve his pitching woes, one year after importing J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn to serve that purpose, and two years after swinging a trade for Sonny Gray -- deals that have contributed varied amounts of success.

"It's always our intent and interest," Cashman said on WFAN. "I'm clearly trying to find a match. You have to rob Peter to pay Paul. It just depends. Depending on what the prices are, we'll be very aggressive. We always are. We want to be smart and aggressive at the same time."

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