<
>

Wagner blows four-run lead as Yanks beat Mets

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 was
just as sweet.

"Two memorable games in a week, but this one was maybe much
more unlikely," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We hadn't done
anything today."

Pedro Martinez outpitched Mike Mussina and matched his
season-high with seven innings, leaving 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.

"It stinks," Wagner said. "We deserved that game."

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 looked nothing like the pitcher who overpowered the
Yankees on Friday in striking out the side. He has already blown
three of 11 save chances, and admitted he was surprised to get this
call.

"We can make up all kinds of excuses, but I just stunk," he
said.

Mussina did not expect to see Wagner, either.

"I was surprised Wagner was back in there, especially since it
wasn't a save situation," he said. "Of course, you don't expect a
closer of the quality of Billy Wagner to get wild like that."

But he did, in a big way.

Jason Giambi led off the ninth with 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. Damon, who grounded into his
first double play of the season in his previous at-bat, hit a slow
bouncer to shortstop Jose Reyes, who threw to second baseman Kaz
Matsui.

Damon, slowed by a bad foot, barely beat Matsui's relay as the
tying run scored. Mets manager Willie Randolph argued first base
umpire Tom Hallion's ruling, and later said he thought his team
could've turned the DP. Whatever, replays showed Hallion made the
right call.

"I made an all-out push to beat it," Damon said. "We had a
shot to go down 2-0 to the Mets in the Subway Series, and we wanted
to enjoy our dinner tonight. I was going to do everything I
could."

The banged-up Yankees, 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, 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.

Game 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
RBI in interleague play, more than anyone else. ... Yankees
pinch-hitter Kevin Reese singled in the eighth for his first major
league hit.