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Mets’ Seth Lugo stymies Yankees in impressive relief outing

The Mets are on the hunt for relief help before Tuesday’s trade deadline, but a critical reinforcement could come from their own bullpen.

Seth Lugo pitched like the right-hander of old on Wednesday night, taming the Yankees in the eighth and ninth innings to keep the game tied before the Mets came through with a 3-2, walk-off win at Citi Field.

After David Peterson relieved Max Scherzer to begin the eighth inning and promptly flushed a 2-0 lead, Buck Showalter called on Lugo from the bullpen with one out. Lugo answered by striking out Josh Donaldson — on an inside curveball that sent the Yankees third baseman to the ground — and Aaron Hicks.

Then in the ninth, Lugo allowed a two-out single to DJ LeMahieu but came back to get Aaron Judge to ground out, giving way to the Mets winning it in the bottom of the frame.

Seth Lugo
Seth Lugo
Bill Kostroun

“Good, really good,” Showalter said. “That’s about as sharp [as you can be] in a high-intensity — what do they call it, high-leverage? — situation. That’s about as good as you want to see a guy pitch against some tough parts of the order. It’s all tough, for the most part.”

Lugo, who had already begun to warm up when Peterson started the eighth, did not flinch at entering the game sooner than expected.

“The adrenaline was nice,” he said. “It was a great crowd and it’s nice to perform in front of crowds like that.”

Lugo has had an inconsistent season — he entered the day with a 3.65 ERA across 37 innings — but on Wednesday he flashed the quality stuff that made him one of the Mets’ top setup options for Edwin Diaz coming into the year.

It was an encouraging sight for the Mets, not only for its meaning in the game but for what it could lead to down the stretch if Lugo is able to repeat that kind of performance.

“[Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner has] talked to me a lot about the things that he’s done in the past and has done at times this year,” Showalter said. “Seeing him go out there and kind of let it hunt for an inning-plus, I hope that … I know what he’s capable of and I’ve seen at times. It would be a — I don’t want to say a boost, because he’s done some good things for us and gotten some big outs for us.”

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