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Five Yankees pitchers combine to one-hit Mets

NEW YORK (AP) -- A masterful pitching performance carried the New
York Yankees to victory Friday night, and nearly half the staff got
in on it.

Five pitchers combined on a one-hitter, and Jason Giambi homered
again in a rain-delayed 2-0 victory over the suddenly slumping
Mets.

Endy Chavez's leadoff single in the sixth inning against Ron
Villone (2-1) was the only hit for the Mets as the crosstown rivals
opened the second leg of their annual Subway Series. Chavez was
picked off first base, and the Mets didn't manage another
baserunner.

"It's good for the bullpen to hold on, the way we've been
dragging," Yankees reliever Scott Proctor said. "Anytime you can
come together as a bullpen the way we did tonight, that's what we
need to do all season."

Andy Phillips added an RBI single, sending the Mets to their
fourth straight defeat. The NL East leaders hadn't dropped three in
a row all season before getting swept in Boston this week.

"We've got to get the guys going again. The rain delay probably
didn't help -- it broke up the rhythm of the game. When you get one
hit, enough said. Got to do better than that," Mets manager Willie
Randolph said. "I don't think it's a slump. We've been playing
with a lot of house money, and you're going to go through a little
bump in the road. Right now, you can say the American League has
four to five teams that are a little better than teams in the
National League."

Orlando Hernandez (4-8) pitched seven effective innings against
his former team, returning to the mound following a 63-minute delay
in the fourth. Still, he lost his third consecutive outing and fell
to 0-3 in three starts against the Yankees the past two seasons.

The Mets got Cliff Floyd back from the disabled list, but they
were missing slugger Carlos Delgado (ribcage) and right fielder
Xavier Nady (wrist) -- and it showed at the plate.

Mike Mussina held the Mets without a hit for the first four
innings before the rain delay cut his outing short after 53
pitches, costing him a chance at his 10th win. He struck out four,
and the only baserunner he allowed came on a first-inning error by
second baseman Miguel Cairo.

The 37-year-old Mussina felt a slight strain in his right groin
during the first inning and pitched his final two innings with a
wrap on, so he knew the wise move was to come out after the rain
delay.

"I don't feel too bad at all. I think we prevented any real
damage," said Mussina, who hopes to make his next start. "We have
enough injury problems."

Villone followed with two solid innings before Proctor pitched
the seventh and Kyle Farnsworth worked the eighth. Mariano Rivera
got three quick outs for his 18th save in 20 chances, the 397th of
his career.

"That's the way they drew it up in spring training,"
Farnsworth said. "We probably fed off each other. From Moose all
the way to Mo, we were aggressive."

It was the first combined one-hitter for the Yankees since Sept.
26, 1997, at Detroit. Ted Lilly threw the team's previous
one-hitter, taking a tough-luck loss in Seattle on April 27, 2002.

Florida's Dontrelle Willis tossed the previous one-hitter
against the Mets, on June 16, 2003.

Proctor tweaked his lower back a little, which brought manager
Joe Torre and a trainer to the mound. But the reliever yelled at
Torre, promising he was fine to finish the inning, and remained in
the game.

"I wouldn't be out there if I couldn't do the job," Proctor
said, adding that he is OK. "That was all he needed to hear."

Giambi homered to right off El Duque with two outs in the first,
his 11th in June and 24th of the season.

"He's always tough on me," Giambi said. "I'm just not fouling
off those mistakes. I'm hitting them hard and I'm putting them in
play."

Phillips was at the plate when rain halted play in the fourth.
After the game resumed, Bernie Williams stole second and scored on
Phillips' two-out single to left.

Before the delay, Williams reached on a bloop single to left
that glanced off the glove of third baseman David Wright, who also
struck out all three times up.

"A stretch like this is going to happen," Wright said. "It
will test our resiliency. We have some nagging injuries. This is
where we have to dig down deep, see what we're made of. Now, we're
playing upper-echelon teams."

Hernandez allowed two runs and seven hits, striking out three
and walking one.

Game notes
The Mets optioned OF Lastings Milledge to Triple-A Norfolk
to make room for Floyd, who went 0-for-3 in his first game since
June 6. He had been out with a sprained ankle. ... The Mets took
two of three from the Yankees at Shea Stadium in May.