NEW YORK (AP) — The stands were filled and the fences were much closer. Chris Young and the New York Mets certainly enjoyed the cozy confines across town.
Young hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning, Jenrry Mejia provided a jolt after his reluctant move to the bullpen and the previously punchless Mets went deep four times to rally past the banged-up Yankees 9-7 Monday night in the Subway Series opener.
The crowd of 46,517, chanting back and forth, included Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra — who received a warm hand on his 89th birthday — and a large throng of Mets fans in left field wearing orange shirts that read "Bronx Invasion."
"It was like a big party out there in the outfield, and it keeps you in the game," said Young, who played center and left. "I was saying that I was having the most fun that I've had even before the home run."
After going 4-0 last year for their first season sweep of the Yankees, the Mets picked up right where they left off last May. Curtis Granderson connected in his return to Yankee Stadium, and the Mets also got long balls from Eric Young Jr. and Travis d'Arnaud while overcoming a pair of three-run deficits.
Lumbering first baseman Lucas Duda turned in two spectacular defensive plays, starting a game-ending double play with runners at the corners by making a diving stop of Brian McCann's sharp grounder. Taking full advantage of a hitter-friendly ballpark, rather than the vast dimensions back home at Citi Field, the Mets hit four home runs in a game for the first time since May 3, 2013, in Atlanta, according to STATS. They began the day ranked 29th in the majors with 22 homers.
"Part of it is being here," Mets manager Terry Collins explained, referring to both the fences and the environment. "This atmosphere creates intensity and creates focus, and guys are excited about being here."
Brett Gardner hit an early grand slam off ex-Yankee Bartolo Colon, and Derek Jeter had three hits for the first time since Sept. 30, 2012, in Toronto. Carlos Beltran left in the seventh with a hyperextended right elbow and was scheduled to have an MRI.
Beltran, the designated hitter, got hurt working in the indoor cage between at-bats. "I'm concerned because it was enough to take himself out of the game," manager Joe Girardi said. Bumped into a struggling bullpen before the game, Mejia (4-0) entered in the seventh for his first relief appearance since September 2012. He struck out Alfonso Soriano on three pitches and worked a scoreless eighth.
Mejia sure seemed to relish the role — even though he made it clear he wanted to stay in the rotation because he was concerned about injuring his surgically repaired arm again. The right-hander excitedly pumped his fist after a double play and then backed his way off the mound following a called third strike that ended the eighth.
"It feels pretty good. I've got to enjoy it," a smiling Mejia said. "If they need me in the bullpen I've got to be there because I never play for myself." Kyle Farnsworth pitched a shaky ninth for his third save — aided by Mark Teixeira's nagging groin injury.
Teixeira laced a pinch-hit single to right that went to the wall and sent Jeter to third base. A gimpy Teixeira had to stop at first, though, and was pulled for a pinch-runner. That kept the double play in order and Duda turned a rare 3-5-3 gem with third baseman David Wright, who was shifted near shortstop against McCann.
Pinch-hitter Eric Campbell, enjoying his third day in the majors, got the Mets started in the eighth by hustling for a double after his sharp grounder caromed off third baseman Yangervis Solarte and into left field.
Duda blooped a single to center off Matt Thornton (0-1), and Campbell barely beat Jacoby Ellsbury's accurate throw with a nifty slide at the plate. Chris Young greeted Preston Claiborne with a two-run shot to left, giving the Mets a 9-7 lead.
"We really struggled today," Girardi said. "We didn't make pitches." The Yankees snapped a 4-all tie with three runs in the sixth off Colon, who gave up 11 hits for the second time this season. Young Jr. trimmed it to 7-6 with a two-run homer off Alfredo Aceves, who relieved starter Hiroki Kuroda in the seventh.
In the first inning, Granderson turned and greeted fans in right field. The slugger signed a $60 million, four-year contract with the Mets in December after spending four seasons with the Yankees. He caused a bit of a stir in the offseason by saying, "A lot of the people I've met in New York have always said that true New Yorkers are Mets fans."
"The Mets fans came out in droves," Granderson said. NOTES: Mets President Saul Katz denied a report by The New York Times that he has expressed an interest in selling his share of the team. "I have no intention of selling my share of the Mets nor have I ever had any intention of selling my share," Katz said in a statement released by the club. ... The Mets plan to promote touted pitching prospect Rafael Montero from Triple-A Las Vegas to start Wednesday night at home against the Yankees in place of Mejia. It will be Montero's major league debut. ... Soriano's second-inning single made him the seventh player to get 1,000 hits in the American League and National League.