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A-Rod delivers grand performance as Yanks rout Mets

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Yankees appeared to be headed for a
long night, until two big swings by Alex Rodriguez made it an easy
one.

Rodriguez hit a grand slam and a three-run homer, sending the
Yankees to a 16-7 blowout of the Mets in their Subway Series finale
Sunday.

"We needed to win this game. We don't have a 10-game lead like
they do," Rodriguez said. "Every game for us is monumental."

Jorge Posada and Nick Green also connected for the Yankees, who
rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to remain four games behind
first-place Boston in the AL East.

The Mets, who have lost five of six, had a franchise-record six
players chosen for the All-Star team earlier in the day -- but they
sure didn't play like the sound squad that's built an 11-game
cushion in the NL East through half the season.

"One minute, everything was going good. And the next minute,
their offense exploded," Mets All-Star David Wright said.

The Yankees broke out for the most runs scored by either team in
a Subway Series game since interleague play began in 1997,
emphatically capping a season of dominance by the AL. The junior
circuit went 154-98 against the NL for a .611 winning percentage --
obliterating the previous high of .547 by the NL in '97, according
to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Mets and Yankees split six games, with the Bronx Bombers
taking two of three at home this weekend.

Long after this one was decided, Carlos Beltran homered twice
for the Mets. He finished with four hits.

Selected to his 10th All-Star team earlier in the day, Rodriguez
put the Yankees ahead with a grand slam off rookie starter Alay
Soler (2-3) in the third inning, then added a three-run shot off
Heath Bell in the fifth to make it 16-5.

"Alex was all of it, just about," Yankees manager Joe Torre
said. "In front of the crowd tonight, against the Mets, all those
things that seem to heighten the tension here -- he did the job.
Hopefully, we can just move on."

Booed lustily at Yankee Stadium as he slumped through much of
June, the two-time MVP has turned it around with four homers in
four games. He popped out of the dugout for two curtain calls
Sunday night to boisterous cheers from the Yankee-partisan crowd of
55,212.

"That was nice. It's been an awful first half. I haven't felt a
rhythm all year," Rodriguez said.

Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca was angry with the way Rodriguez
watched his grand slam and tossed his bat away, yelling at the
third baseman as he crossed home plate.

After some enthusiastic high-fives, Rodriguez turned back toward
Lo Duca, but they were separated by plate umpire Tim McClelland as
Jason Giambi jawed with Lo Duca.

"It upset me a little bit that he threw his bat. I want to
protect my pitcher, and I didn't like the way he showed him up,"
Lo Duca said. "You want to stare at it, that's fine. But don't
toss your bat and stare at your dugout like that. Act like you've
hit one before."

There was no further trouble the rest of the night. Rodriguez
declined to comment.

"It's over with, and that's that," Lo Duca said.

After the Mets chased an ineffective Jaret Wright with four runs
in the second, Ron Villone (3-1) restored order with three solid
innings and gave the Yankees a chance to come back. The left-hander
has earned the team's last three wins in a span of four games.

Called up from the minors Tuesday as infield insurance when
All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano went on the disabled list,
the seldom-used Green provided a surprising spark with his bat and
glove.

Making his first start for the Yankees, he threw out a runner at
the plate with a strong relay and robbed Carlos Delgado of a hit
with a tumbling play at second base. Green also reached base safely
three times and scored twice from the No. 9 hole.

Green's two-run shot in the Yankees' season-best, eight-run
third made it 9-4 and snapped his 0-for-25 skid dating to earlier
this season with Tampa Bay. It was his first homer since July 8
last year for the Devil Rays.

"It's fun whenever you play for a team of this caliber," Green
said. "When I was over with the Braves it was the same thing. You
go out there expecting to win. Sometimes it brings out the best in
people."

Staked to a 4-0 cushion, Soler fell apart. The right-hander gave
up a leadoff homer to Posada in the second, then walked his first
two batters in the third.

Derek Jeter hit an RBI single, and Soler was late covering first
base on an infield single by the slow-footed Giambi. That loaded
the bases for Rodriguez, who drove a 1-2 pitch into the
right-center bleachers for his 13th career slam -- second this
season -- and a 6-4 lead.

Soler committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, and Melky
Cabrera hit an RBI double before Green homered off Bell.

"That blew up real quick," Mets manager Willie Randolph said.
"What's there to talk about? You can't walk guys in front of a
lineup like that."

An error by Mets right fielder Xavier Nady led to four runs in
the fourth. Cabrera's two-run double made it 13-4.

Game notes
The start was delayed 70 minutes by rain. ... Mets ace
Pedro Martinez will miss his scheduled turn Monday night against
Pittsburgh because of a sore hip. ... Rodriguez has 42 multihomer
games. With the bases loaded this season, he is 5-for-9 with 16
RBI.