Yankees 5, Mets 4, 11 innings

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NEW YORK (AP) – Down by four runs and facing a blazing closer, the New York Yankees sure seemed to be in trouble.

Then again, startling comebacks are nothing new for this team. Not this week, anyway.

Johnny Damon hustled to beat a double-play relay that capped a four-run rally in the ninth inning against Billy Wagner, then pinch-hitter Andy Phillips lined an RBI single in the 11th Saturday to lift the Yankees to an improbable 5-4 win over the New York Mets.

Trailing Texas 9-0 on Tuesday night, the Yankees matched their greatest comeback in team history. That might’ve been one for the record books, but this stunning turnaround in the Subway Series must’ve been just as sweet.

Pedro Martinez outpitched Mike Mussina and left after seven innings, with the Mets leading 4-0 and the sellout crowd at Shea Stadium shouting. The home fans were still screaming later, albeit for a different reason, when Wagner self-destructed.

Phillips, hitting only .174, delivered a two-out single off Jorge Julio (1-2) after Miguel Cairo drew a leadoff walk and stole two bases. Mariano Rivera (2-3) pitched two scoreless innings, a night after giving up David Wright’s winning single in the bottom of the ninth.

Wagner, without a save on the line, looked nothing like the pitcher who overpowered the Yankees on Friday in striking out the side.

Jason Giambi led off the ninth a single, Alex Rodriguez walked and Robinson Cano singled for a run. With one out, rookie Melky Cabrera worked for an 11-pitch walk that loaded the bases, Kelly Stinnett walked to force home another run and pinch-hitter Bernie Williams was hit by a pitch, making it 4-3.

Pedro Feliciano relieved with the bases loaded and almost got the break the Mets needed to escape. But Damon, who grounded into his first double play of the season in his previous at-bat, hit a bouncer and barely beat the relay to drive in the tying run.

Mets manager Willie Randolph argued first base umpire Tom Hallion’s ruling. Replays showed the ump was right.

The banged-up Yankees, already with Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui on the disabled list, did not start Jorge Posada and Williams after they got hurt Friday night.

They did nothing against Martinez, who blanked them on four hits and struck out eight. Carlos Delgado and Cliff Floyd homered, and Carlos Beltran and Wright hit RBI doubles off Mussina.

The Yankees did not help Mussina in making four errors, giving them 22 in 13 games. Overall, the Yankees made an error in their eighth straight game – earlier, manager Joe Torre called his team’s fielding “terrible.”

Speedy Jose Reyes pressured the jittery Yankees into three misplays. He put them on the defensive from the get-go, when Rodriguez charged a slow chop and snapped a wide throw. Torre thinks his All-Star third baseman is moving his feet too much before pitches and not getting set.

Reyes stole second and continued to third when Stinnett’s throw sailed into center field. Reyes reached in the fifth when Giambi fielded a slow grounder and flipped it high off Mussina’s glove.

Delgado opened the fourth with a drive over the wall in left-center field. His 14th home run of the season also was his 383rd lifetime, tying Larry Walker for 50th place on the career list.

Notes: The Subway Series brings out star power: Charlie Daniels sang the national anthem, Tim Robbins threw out the first ball and Bill O’Reilly stood near the Yankees’ dugout. … Delgado has 124 RBIs in interleague play, more than anyone else. … Yankees pinch-hitter Kevin Reese singled in the eighth for his first major league hit.

AP-ES-05-20-06 1714EDT

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