If Harrison Bader’s first Subway Series was his last Subway Series, he made it one to remember.
The Bronxville native — who missed matchups with the Mets last year and last month due to injuries — finally got a chance to play in front of a few charged-up, New York fan bases and played like one of the best players on the field.
Bader finished with three hits, two runs scored and one nifty slide in the Yankees’ 3-1 win over the Mets, salvaging a series split in The Bronx on Wednesday.
The slick-fielding center fielder will be a free agent at season’s end, his bat and glove intriguing, but his injury history concerning.
If the Yankees let him walk, Bader, who grew up watching the rivalry up close, at least can say he witnessed — and starred in — one round of the battle of the boroughs.
“High energy, both sides, obviously in both dugouts but also in the stands,” said Bader, who did some of everything during a 3-for-4 night. “I love seeing Yankees fans yell at Mets fans and vice versa. That’s what it’s about.”
Bader’s night started with a punched double to left field in the second inning.
He moved to third on a ground out and remained there until Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s bloop into shallow right field was caught by a sliding Jeff McNeil.
Once Bader saw McNeil slide, he knew he would take off for home and force McNeil to make a tremendous play.
“I look up,” manager Aaron Boone said, “and Harrison’s coming hard and fast.”
McNeil did make a tremendous play, and his throw beat Bader to the plate.
But Bader dove away from catcher Francisco Alvarez, sneaking his hand across the outside of the plate just before the tag.
“A great slide to get in there,” Boone said of Bader, who went 4-for-8 with an error (committed Tuesday) in the two-game set. “It’s a big play and a great play.”
Bader’s speed came in handy again in the fourth, when he hit a swinging bunt down the third-base line.
He had the throw beaten, then advanced to second base when Mark Vientos threw the ball into foul territory. Bader scored on a single from Anthony Volpe.
The Yankees only managed six hits, but Bader came through with half, his third a single through the right side of the infield against Jose Quintana in the sixth.
Boone said Bader, who entered the series hitting .204 with just one home run in his first 16 games in July, has been “grinding here the last week or so,” searching at the plate.
When the whole city watched, he found what he sought.
“I’m just really fortunate to be a part of it all,” Bader said. “I’m excited to just compete against those guys. I’ve seen it from afar since I was a kid. Just getting in the game, it’s really special. That was fun.”
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