Series: Game 1 of 3

NY Mets leads 1-0 (as of 6/26)

Game 1: Friday, June 25
NY MetsPostponed
NY Yankees
Game 1: Saturday, June 26
NY Mets9Final
NY Yankees3
Game 2: Sunday, June 27
NY Mets1Final
NY Yankees8
Game 3: Sunday, June 27
NY Mets6Final
NY Yankees11

Mets 9

(36-36, 15-20 away)

Yankees 3

(45-26, 23-10 home)

1:05 PM ET, June 26, 2004

Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

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NYM 020600100 9 12 0
NYY 002100000 3 6 1

W: A. Leiter (3-2)

L: B. Halsey (1-1)

Reyes, Matsui set table for Mets

NEW YORK (AP) -- With the bases loaded in the first inning, and the Yankee Stadium crowd already sensing another win over their crosstown rival, 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.

"Keep not believing in us," said Cliff Floyd, who homered in the seventh for the Mets' final run.

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 Mets starter except Mike Cameron had a hit.

"They beat us up," Yankees 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 crosstown rival, pulling back to .500 this season at 36-36.

Alex 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, including .086 (3-for-35) with two outs.

"We were just a little flat," he said.

Overall, the Yankees were just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The Mets got five straight hits with runners in scoring position in the fourth.

"It's a win. It doesn't count as two," Leiter said. "I wish it did."

Derek Jeter, celebrating his 30th birthday, was a quiet 2-for-4 for the Yankees, 24-13 against the Mets in the regular season since interleague play began in 1997.

"Yeah, I'm old," the Yankees captain said.

The teams play a day-night doubleheader Sunday to make up 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.

Gary Sheffield, who missed three starts because of bursitis in his left shoulder, hit a two-run homer for the Yankees and Hideki Matsui had a solo shot.

In Japan, attention was focused on the game because of the Matsui vs. 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."

Before a sellout crowd of 55,303, the Yankees immediately put pressure when Bernie Williams walked leading off the first and Jeter singled. But Rodriguez hit a weak grounder to first and, after throwing a ball, Leiter intentionally walked Sheffield, a .368 hitter against him, to face Giambi.

Giambi, 1-for-5 against Leiter with a three-run homer last year, swung through the 2-0 pitch, fouled another off and took a ball. Leiter then overthrew a cutter so much that the ball hardly broke and stayed over the plate as Giambi was taken by surprise.

Posada followed with a slow roller to the third-base side of the mound, and Leiter threw him out at first. Leiter then settled down and wound up allowing three runs, five hits and four walks in 6 1-3 innings. Ricky Bottalico and Jose Parra combined for one-hit relief.

"It's important to get that first one," Mets manager Art Howe said. "Last year, we didn't get any."

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

"Obviously, I knew I didn't have command of my fastball early in the game," he said.

After Phillips put the Mets ahead and Reyes singled, Reyes was caught off first but wound up stealing second as Giambi decided not to throw. Kaz Matsui fell behind 0-2 in the count, then slapped a two-run single to right over the drawn-in infield. Mike Piazza and Richard Hidalgo followed with RBI singles off Tanyon Sturtze.

Leiter then relaxed against the Yankees, the team he started with.

"They have a swagger," he said. "Players in here get up for it."

Game notes

Mets RHP Jae Seo (3-5), scheduled to pitch Wednesday at Cincinnati, may be skipped in the rotation. ... Yankees RHP Kevin Brown, on the disabled list since June 10 with back spasms, will throw a bullpen session Sunday before New York decides whether he needs a rehabilitation assignment.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press