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Errors in sixth inning doom Mets

NEW YORK (AP) -- Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees made their
share of mistakes. The revamped Mets' blunders were more costly.

The Yankees scored twice in the sixth inning on consecutive
errors by Kaz Matsui and Doug Mientkiewicz and went on to a 5-2
victory Friday night in the first game of this year's Subway
Series.

"It feels a lot better when you have a sloppy game and you
win," said Jeter, who made two errors in an inning for the first
time since Sept. 3, 2002, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Tony Womack walked twice, stole a base and hustled to score two
runs, and Hideki Matsui drove in two of the eight Yankees who
reached on walks.

The Yankees won for the 11th time in 12 games overall and ended
a three-game losing streak to their crosstown rival, improving to
27-16 against the Mets since interleague play began in 1997.

For the first time since 2000, the reinvigorated Mets came into
the Subway Series with a better record than the Yankees, but their
new Gold Glove first baseman made an error that led to a run and
high-priced newcomer Carlos Beltran left two runners in scoring
position before getting an RBI single in the seventh.

"Errors happen and you just hope that if and when they happen,
they don't cost you a run," Mientkiewicz said. "If I had to do it
over, I'd do the same thing."

Facing his mentor, Joe Torre, for the first time, Mets manager
Willie Randolph gambled on the bases, sending his baserunners
often, and in the field, bringing the infield in during the fourth
inning of a scoreless game.

While Randolph dismissed the experience as just "a regular
game," Torre recognized the significance of seeing his former
bench coach in the other dugout.

"I'm sure he felt a little strange, looking over in our dugout
and seeing the Yankee uniforms," Torre said.

Randolph's decision to bring the infield in backfired when
Hideki Matsui lined a double past Mientkiewicz at first for a run.
The Mets got a run back in the bottom half when Jeter, the Yankees'
shortstop and captain, made two errors.

Fans will have to wait until the weekend to see the marquee
offseason pitching acquisitions -- Randy Johnson starts for the
Yankees on Saturday, and Pedro Martinez will pitch for the Mets on
Sunday.

On this night when a 55-degree temperature and a brisk breeze
took the buzz out of sellout crowd, Victor Zambrano (2-4) and Kevin
Brown (3-4) struggled with their control. Zambrano walked six in 5
1/3 innings, and Brown walked four in five innings.

Brown, who won his third straight start, gave up only three hits
and an unearned run. He struck out five to shut down the Mets, who
were coming off a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds.

"I thought he did a good job changing speeds off his
fastball," Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said. "There were a lot
of balls off the end of the bat. He kept the ball down the entire
way."

Four Yankees relievers pitched four innings of one-run ball,
with Mariano Rivera working a perfect ninth for his eighth save to
complete a five-hitter. The Yankees, who like the Mets are 22-20,
matched their season high of two games over .500.

Rivera became the first Yankees pitcher to appear in 600
regular-season games when he entered in the ninth.

"It's good," Rivera said. "But I don't emphasize too much on
that stuff."

The Yankees opened a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning on Hideki
Matsui's single, two walks and fielding errors by second baseman
Kaz Matsui and Mientkiewicz.

After Posada walked to load the bases, Matsui botched Robinson
Cano's potential inning-ending, double-play grounder, allowing
Hideki Matsui to score. With the infield playing in, Mientkiewicz
couldn't handle pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra's one-hopper, scoring
Alex Rodriguez.

"I'll tell you what, they need to stop booing when they miss
balls," Jeter said of the Shea Stadium crowd of 55,740, which
relentlessly razzed Matsui after his error.

In the fourth, Jeter's first error allowed David Wright to
reach. After Kaz Matsui doubled off the left-field wall, Jeter made
a wild relay throw home that allowed Matsui to advance to third.
Zambrano attempted a squeeze bunt -- it went foul -- on Brown's first
pitch, then popped out.

The Mets pulled to 3-2 in the seventh on Beltran's RBI single,
but the Yankees added two runs in the ninth off Roberto Hernandez
on Hideki Matsui's run-scoring grounder and Tino Martinez's
sacrifice fly.

Game notes
Brown hit a double to center in the fifth inning, his first
hit since Aug. 14, 2003, for the Dodgers. "Actually, I felt like a
kid," he said. ... Jeter struck out three times after the fifth
inning, leaving five runners in scoring position. ... Rodriguez
walked three times against Zambrano. ... Floyd stole his first base
of the season.