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Mets walk home tying, winning runs in loss

6/23/2003

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Yankees waited, waited and walked
their way to a comeback win over the Mets.

Pinch-hitters Jorge Posada and Charles Gipson received
bases-loaded walks in the ninth and 11th innings, allowing the
Yankees to rally against the Mets bullpen for a 7-3 win Sunday night.

"We had some help, no question,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre
said. "But I wouldn't call it lucky. We took advantage of some
mistakes.''

Posada drew a walk from closer Armando Benitez with two outs in
the ninth inning that forced in the tying run, and Gipson's walk
started a four-run 11th that gave the Yankees a two-game sweep of
the rain-shortened Subway Series.

Five Mets relievers walked eight batters -- one intentional -- in
the final five innings.

"That was the last thing I was thinking -- that I'd walk to tie
the game,'' said Posada, who did not start because of a sore throat
and 100-degree fever. "He's really tough.''

Jason Phillips' RBI single off Chris Hammond with two outs in
the eighth gave the Mets a 3-2 lead, but Benitez couldn't hold it.
He walked four batters in the ninth, forcing home the tying run.

"He's our man. We're going to win it or lose it with him at
that point,'' Mets manager Art Howe said.

The AL East-leading Yankees have won eight of nine since getting
no-hit by six Houston pitchers on June 11.

Benitez, who had converted 12 straight save chances, walked
Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui and pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra to load
the bases with two outs in the ninth. The right-hander went to a
3-2 count on Posada and, with fans of both teams on their feet and
roaring, missed high and outside with a fastball.

"I think it was a strike,'' Benitez said.

A frustrated Benitez leaned back in disbelief and hopped on the
mound, then retired pinch-hitter Juan Rivera to end the inning.

Benitez was booed loudly as he walked off the field, Mets fans
in the sellout crowd of 55,031 no doubt recalling the ninth-inning
lead he blew in Game 1 of the 2000 World Series against the Yankees.

"It was my fault. I don't have an excuse,'' Benitez said. "I
tried to hit my spots. I couldn't get it.''

Graeme Lloyd got out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th when
Matsui grounded into a double play, but Todd Zeile drew a leadoff
walk from Lloyd (1-2) in the 11th and Ruben Sierra singled for his
2,000th career hit.

Posada hit a potential double-play ball, but rookie shortstop
Jose Reyes booted it for an error, loading the bases.

"We had our chances long before that,'' Howe said. "Errors are
part of the game. He's going to make his share because he's a young
player.''

Lloyd walked Gipson to force in a run -- his second RBI of the
season -- and another run scored on Alfonso Soriano's RBI groundout,
making it 5-3. Enrique Wilson added a two-run double off Dan
Wheeler.

Mariano Rivera (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
Matsui homered off John Franco in the seventh to tie it at 2.

Cliff Floyd homered and Tom Glavine pitched six strong innings
for the Mets.

Glavine, scratched Saturday because of the rain even after he
began to warm up, allowed just one run and five hits in six
innings. The left-hander recently missed his first start in more
than 10 years because of inflammation in his left elbow and was
pulled after only 66 pitches.

Glavine, who had lost his last four starts, was hit in the
stomach by Derek Jeter's line drive in the fourth inning. He made
the play, but began to stiffen up a couple of innings later.

"You know it's going to be sore,'' Glavine said. "It missed my
chest bone, it missed my ribs, it hit that pocket. I haven't felt
like that since I was playing hockey.''

He expects to make his next start.

Yankees starter David Wells gave up two runs -- one earned -- and
six hits in seven innings. He did not walk a batter and has issued
only four free passes in 107 2-3 innings this season.

Saturday's game was washed out with the Yankees leading 4-3 in
the fourth inning and will be made up as part of a day-night,
two-ballpark doubleheader this Saturday -- just as the teams did
July 8, 2000.

Reyes singled leading off the game for his first career hit at
Shea Stadium. Phillips finished with a career-high four hits.

Game notes
The Mets plan to call up pitching prospect Aaron Heilman
from Triple-A Norfolk this week and have him make his major league
debut Thursday night against Florida. ... The Yankees are 20-12
against the Mets in interleague play. ... Mets OF Jeromy Burnitz
left after the ninth inning with a cut on his right ring finger.