Since he was acquired from the San Francisco Giants earlier in the season, reliever Wandy Peralta has provided a spark for the Yankees' bullpen with his contributions on the mound.
This weekend at Citi Field, however, the left-hander made an effort to rile up his teammates in the midst of some high-intensity ballgames against their crosstown rivals.
Peralta's high-pitched rally call, as recounted by his teammates, didn't just lead to a misunderstanding, it paved the way to a bench-clearing altercation and a signature moment for Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor.
It all started on Saturday night. As right-hander Taijuan Walker was rouged up early on, giving up three home runs in a five-run second frame, Mets third baseman Jonathan Villar called for a mound visit. According to ESPN, Villar and his teammates believed the Yankees were relaying tipped pitches to the batter's box with a whistle coming from the dugout.
Fast forward to Sunday night, the finale of this year's Subway Series, when Peralta was summoned out of the bullpen in the sixth inning. Lindor exacted some revenge, sending his second home run of the night over the wall in center field.
Rounding the bases, Lindor began to chirp toward Peralta and other Yankees infielders, at one point making a whistling gesture with his right hand.
The next half inning, when Yankees left fielder Giancarlo Stanton demolished a two-run, game-tying home run, the slugger slowed as he approached Lindor, turning to speak to the shortstop before continuing his home run trot.
This, of course, led to both benches clearing. Players from both sides came swarming out of their respective dugouts and bullpens, congregating around the third-base bag. Tensions eventually dissipated, but not before more words were exchanged.
After the game, Stanton revealed that in the moment, he was trying to articulate to Lindor that if he has a problem with Peralta, he should keep it between the two of them, not talking to other players—like shortstop Gleyber Torres or third baseman Gio Urshela—on his journey around the bases.
That explains what led Stanton to speak his mind, leading to the interaction that ultimately sparked this on-field altercation. But did he have a right to stick up for his teammates if they were orchestrating a scheme to forward signs to the hitter?
"You can't be doing something obvious like that," Stanton said, emphatically denying those accusations. "I mean, if he's tipping, then you see the tip in the box and you pick it up that way and you can relay it or not for whoever wants it."
Also asked about the whistling after the game, outfielder Joey Gallo assured that Peralta's antics weren't rooted in malicious intent. It was nothing more than an effort to bring some energy to the dugout during what's been a tough stretch for this reeling ball club.
"It's a loud whistle and it's definitely not for pitch tipping or anything like that. It's 100% not that," Gallo explained. "It's just him trying to bring energy to the dugout, especially early in the game. First inning, second inning, before he has to go to the bullpen. So that's all it is. It's been hurting my ear, honestly. It's unbelievable how loud he can whistle."
Both manager Aaron Boone and starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt echoed those claims in the Yankees' Zoom room as well, reiterating that New York's dugout was trying to be loud to will this team to victory, not blatantly relaying what pitches were coming.
In the end, it was Lindor that had the last laugh. Off righty Chad Green in the eighth, Lindor crushed his third home run of the night, a towering solo shot to give his club the lead, one they wouldn't relinquish in a 7-6 win.
That signature moment capped off what was a classic game and a memorable series, three games featuring 14 home runs, two incredible close games on national television and a moving tribute on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Gallo added that Sunday felt like a "game-of-the-year type game," not New York's first run in with a tremendous contest in prime time. Similar to the Field of Dreams Game in Iowa last month, however, it was the opposing shortstop that delivered the decisive blow after a heroic comeback.
And yet, as much as big plays and star power on both sides catalyzed this unforgettable chapter in the Subway Series history books, it was a recurring whistle from a 30-year-old reliever that led to the biggest and brightest fireworks of the evening.
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