Pedro dominant through 7, but Mets can't hold on

NEW YORK (AP) -- No longer a regular starter, Bernie Williams
keeps coming up with key hits.

After Pedro Martinez dominated for seven innings, Williams capped a three-run rally in the eighth with a go-ahead double Sunday that sent the New York Yankees to a 5-3 victory over the New York Mets in the finale of the season's first Subway Series.

"Obviously, it means a lot," said Williams, the Yankees' regular center fielder from 1993 until he lost his job in early May. "I'm just trying to make the best out of the opportunity that I've been given. Hopefully, a lot more will come."

Following eighth-inning errors by Mets third baseman David Wright and shortstop Jose Reyes, Hideki Matsui tied the score with a two-run, two-out, opposite-field single off Roberto Hernandez. Williams, whose grand slam rallied the Yankees to victory in Seattle on Monday, then pulled a double down the right field line.

"It's taken a little time for him to adjust emotionally," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Today was big for him."

The Yankees, whose starting lineup was missing Derek Jeter
(swollen elbow), Gary Sheffield (sore hand) and Jorge Posada (sore shoulder), took two of three at Shea Stadium. Alex Rodriguez called it the biggest regular-season win in his 1½ seasons with the Yankees, who had been 0-for-18 this year when trailing after seven innings.

The Mets, without Carlos Beltran (strained quadriceps) and Kaz Matsui (strained upper back), had been 17-2 when leading after seven.

"We could have swept this series," Hernandez said.

Martinez, 11-12 against the Yankees for Boston in the regular season and playoffs combined, allowed just one run and four hits in seven innings, struck out six and walked one. Pushed back two days after receiving a cortisone shot to his hip, he was facing his longtime nemeses for the first time in a Mets uniform.

"It was no different at all, except that this time around I had more fans behind me and ... less hate words," he said. "I have nothing to say against the Yankees or anyone there."

Rodriguez's seventh error of the season led to a pair of unearned runs in the second against Carl Pavano (4-2). Cliff Floyd's 12th homer made it 3-0 in the third.

Martinez got out of a bases-loaded jam in a 31-pitch first inning, retiring Jason Giambi on a foulout to Wright, who reached into the stands. That was the first of 13 straight outs for the three-time Cy Young Award winner, who needed just 44 pitches to get through the next four innings.

Before 55,953, the largest regular-season crowd at Shea since 1965, Tony Womack started the comeback when he singled leading off the sixth, stole second and scored on Rodriguez's single.

Womack reached in the eighth against Dae-Sung Koo when Wright dropped his one-out grounder, and Ruben Sierra followed with a potential double-play grounder to second. Miguel Cairo tossed the ball to Reyes, who dropped it as he came across the bag.

"I tried to be too quick," Reyes said.

Hernandez (2-2) relieved and Jeter, who was hit by a pitch Saturday, ran for Sierra. The Yankees then pulled off a double steal as Wright failed to cover third, playing back with Rodriguez up.

"We might have crossed up on some signs," Wright said.

Rodriguez fouled out to first, bringing up Hideki Matsui. Mets manager Willie Randolph elected not to intentionally walk him to pitch to Williams, in an 11-for-61 slide. Hideki Matsui fouled off three straight pitches to the left side before singling on what he thought was a sinking fastball.

"The pitch I threw to Matsui was probably the best pitch I threw in the entire sequence," Hernandez said. "They usually ground to shortstop or pop up that pitch. He stayed with it."

Williams took a ball before the double, which raised his average to .236.

"As long as we're winning, it makes it a little easier," he said of his part-time role, adding that his goal was to "work myself into the lineup by hitting, by producing."

Williams, starting because of the injury to Sheffield, is 36 and his skills have declined, prompting the Yankees to start Hideki Matsui in center.

Torre said telling Williams he no longer was an everyday starter was the toughest task he's had since becoming the Yankees' manager.

"To handle what he's handled with the class which he's handled it doesn't surprise me," Torre said. "But you know emotionally he's taking a hit for this thing because he's used to playing every day, he's used to being in the middle of the lineup and he certainly isn't used to just playing off the bench."

Pavano, sent to Montreal in the 1997 trade that brought Martinez to the Red Sox, won his fourth straight decision. He allowed three runs, but two were unearned because of Rodriguez's error.

"He didn't allow the error to ruffle him at all," Torre said.

There were runners at second and third when Martinez, who entered 0-for-21 this year at the plate, hit a bouncer that kicked off Rodriguez's glove. Reyes followed with an RBI single.

"That was a ridiculous error," Rodriguez said. "Probably the easiest play that I had all year."

Mike Stanton, Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera followed Pavano, with Rivera getting his ninth save in 11 chances. Tino Martinez
made it easier for his closer with a run-scoring single in the ninth off Mike DeJean.

"Good teams don't give other teams second chances," Hernandez said. "We've got to learn we can't do that."

Game notes
After the next turn through the rotation, the Yankees plan to pass over right-hander Chien-Ming Wang because of an off day to keep left-hander Randy Johnson on four days' rest. Wang will pitch Wednesday against Detroit because Torre wants the Big Unit to start Friday's series opener against Boston. He'll be followed by Pavano and right-hander Mike Mussina. ... The series drew 165,625, a Shea Stadium record for a three-game series.