Leiter and Mets Quiet Yankees in 9-3 Victory

From Associated Press

With the bases loaded in the first inning, and the Yankee Stadium crowd already sensing another victory over their cross-town rival, New York Met starter Al Leiter quieted the fans and the Bronx Bombers’ bats.

After falling behind Jason Giambi 2-0 in the count, Leiter came back to throw a called third strike on a pitch the left-hander called a “backup cement mixer.” Leiter then retired Jorge Posada on a slow roller to get out of the inning, and the Mets went on to beat up rookie Brad Halsey in a six-run fourth that propelled them to a 9-3 victory Saturday before a sellout crowd of 55,303.

“Keep not believing in us,” said Cliff Floyd, who homered in the seventh.

Jason Phillips doubled past a diving Alex Rodriguez at third for a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning, Jose Reyes followed with an RBI single and had a key stolen base. Then, in his first major league game against Hideki Matsui, Kaz Matsui hit a two-run single that opened a 6-2 lead. Every Met starter except Mike Cameron had a hit.


“They beat us up,” Yankee Manager Joe Torre said. “There’s not much to talk about. We couldn’t get them out.”

Playing against a team Leiter (3-2) called “the mighty Yankees,” who have the best record in the majors at 45-26, the Mets finished with 12 hits and stopped a seven-game losing streak against their cross-town rival, pulling back to .500 this season at 36-36.

Rodriguez, in his first game against the Mets since he was dealt to the Yankees last winter, came up with runners in scoring position in every at bat and went 0 for 5. He stranded seven runners, including five on second or third, and is hitting .197 (13 for 66) with runners in scoring position.

“We were just a little flat,” he said.

The teams play a day-night doubleheader today to make up for Friday’s rainout, with Jose Contreras starting the opener for the Yankees -- his first appearance since reuniting with his family, which defected from Cuba earlier in the week.

In Japan, attention was focused on the game because of the Matsui-Matsui matchup. In his first at-bat, Hideki Matsui lined out to Kaz Matsui at shortstop in the second inning. In the sixth, Kaz flied out to Hideki in left. During batting practice, the pair talked about living in New York.

“The atmosphere, the energy, the voltage was high,” Kaz Matsui said after playing his first game at Yankee Stadium. “There’s probably nothing like it anywhere else.”


Halsey (1-1), a left-hander who won at Dodger Stadium a week earlier in his major league debut, walked five, and three of those runners scored. He gave up seven runs -- six earned -- and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.