NEW YORK (AP) — Dominic Smith wept on Wednesday night, disheartened and drained by another long 24 hours as a Black man in America. A day later, he said he felt uplifted after teammates joined him in a memorable protest.
Back in his comfort zone Friday night, the New York Mets outfielder took a starring role in a Subway Series instant classic.
No place the earnest, jovial — and sweet-swinging — Smith would rather be.
“Baseball is my safe haven,” he said. “This is where I get away from all the stresses of my life.”
Smith hit the go-ahead home runin his first game since tearfully pleading for help combating racial inequality, Pete Alonso also connected and the Mets beat the crosstown Yankees 6-4 in the opener of a doubleheader.
Pinch-hitter Amed Rosario then hit a walkoff, two-run homer to lift the Mets to a 4-3 victory in the nightcap — a bizarre scene in the Bronx, where the Yankees batted first as the visiting team in the makeup of a game postponed last weekend.
“We all were extremely happy to just be back on the field and be back playing baseball,” Smith said. “You could just see how guys feel extremely emotional about what happened for me and for my community and stuff like that.
“You could definitely feel (us being) closer knit over the last 24 hours. I think really, yesterday was obviously bigger than baseball, but it’s going to bring this team together.”
The sweep sent the Yankees to their seventh straight loss, their worst skid since 2017.
Smith, a 25-year-old Black man, cried Wednesday night reflecting on a recent shooting by police of a Black man in Wisconsin. Back on the baseball field, he and the Mets were all smiles after his decisive solo shot against Chad Green in the sixth inning on what was Jackie Robinson Day around the majors. Both teams wore No. 42 for the second game only.
Inspired by the emotional comments from the usually upbeat Smith, the Mets staged a walkout protest against racial injustice with the Miami Marlins on Thursday night.
Then they went wild on the bench as Smith rounded the bases, Alonso pounding on the dugout railing and hollering to his close friend.
“With what he’s lived in the last two days emotionally, and what we lived, too, supporting him as well, it was pretty special for sure,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said.
“We’re here to pick each other up,” Smith added.
Rosario, batting for Luis Guillorme, connected off closer Aroldis Chapman (0-1) with pinch-runner Billy Hamilton at second base. Chapman walked Jeff McNeil to open the inning, and Hamilton promptly stole second despite being picked off by the All-Star left-hander.
Rosario then cranked his third home run of the season into the left field seats, setting off the second rowdy celebration in the visiting dugout as the Mets swept the Yankees in a doubleheader for the first time.
“I forgot that we were the home team and that that was the end of the game,” Rosario said through a translator. “As I rounded the bases, I saw the players coming out of the dugout and I was like, ‘Wow, we just won the game.’”
The teams are set to play five games in three days to make up for games at Citi Field postponed last weekend after two members of the Mets tested positive for the coronavirus. Two of them, including Friday’s late game, will be Mets home games.
Smith’s drive followed a tying three-run shot by the struggling Alonso, and Jake Marisnick also connected in the inning against Green (2-2), who had been the Yankees’ most reliable reliever this season.
“I think he got a couple pitches where he wanted, they just put better swings on it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Mets reliever Dellin Betances, making his first appearance against his former team, allowed two runners in the sixth but escaped on Gary Sanchez’s popup. Edwin Díaz struck out the side in the ninth for his second save.
Clint Frazier homered, drove in three and reached base four times for the Yankees as a fill-in for injured Aaron Judge. New York’s everyday right fielder was placed back on the 10-day injured list Friday with a recurrence of a left calf strain after aggravating the injury in his return from the IL on Wednesday.
Frazier is batting .344 with a 1.182 OPS in 10 games this season.
Walker Lockett (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings in relief for the Mets. He was designated for assignment between games to create roster space for nightcap starter David Peterson.
Yankees starter Jonathan Loaisiga pitched one-run ball for three innings, striking out three on 39 pitches. Adam Ottavino, Nick Nelson and Luis Cessa turned over a 3-2 lead to Chapman, who has yet to record a save after opening the season on the COVID-19 injured list.
“You’ve got to turn the page quickly,” Boone said. “Obviously a tough stretch for us here right now.”
Jared Hughes (1-1) pitched a perfect seventh inning for the Mets.
The Mets entered the day batting .199 with runners in scoring position, worst in the majors, but were 5 for 12 over the doubleheader.
FIRST TIMERS CLUB
Yankees outfielder Estevan Florial singled in the fifth inning of the opener for his first major league hit in his debut, and Mets catcher Ali Sánchez got his first big league hit in the late game. Florial was New York’s 29th man for the doubleheader and was sent down afterward.
Mets: RHP Wacha (right shoulder) was activated from the injured list and allowed four runs in three innings starting Game 1. … IF Andres Gimenez was activated from the COVID-19 injured list, and Marisnick was activated from the 10-day IL after recovering from a left hamstring strain. … RHP Corey Oswalt was placed on the injured list with right biceps tendinitis. … OF Juan Lagares was designated for assignment and RHP Drew Smith was optioned to the alternate site. … C Patrick Mazeika was added as the 29th man for the doubleheader. … OF Guillermo Heredia was claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh and sent to the Mets’ alternate site.
Yankees: 3B Gio Urshela was held out with a bone spur in his right elbow and is day to day. … LHP Luis Avilán was released.
The Mets will start RHP Robert Gsellman (0-0, 7.71) against Yankees LHP J.A. Happ (1-1, 6.39).
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