07/04/2004 5:03 PM ET
Yanks edged in interborough finale
Team's 16-hit attack topped by Mets' power surge
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- The Mets completed a Subway Series sweep of the Yankees on Sunday with a 5-4 win at Shea Stadium, making history with their first season-series win in the eight-year history of the Interleague rivalry.
|Miguel Cairo sneaks his foot past Jason Phillips to score the Yankees' second run. (Ed Betz/AP)
Ty Wigginton was the star of the show for the Mets, belting a pair of home runs, including the game-winner against Tom Gordon in the eighth to snap a 4-4 tie.
"We've been spoiled a little because we've been winning a lot of these exciting games," said manager Joe Torre. "Both clubs battled hard, both battled back and they got the best of us."
The Mets took four of six games against the Yankees, who won two of three last weekend in the Bronx. In the previous seven years, the Yankees had won the season series five times, as the teams split the series twice.
"We never think that anyone can sweep us or even win a series from us," said Gary Sheffield. "You have to give them credit."
Javier Vazquez was unusually wild, issuing five walks over five grueling innings of work. He allowed four runs (three earned), gutting his way through 113 pitches.
"He had no command, but I give the kid credit because he battled his tail off," Torre said. "He threw enough pitches for nine innings. He doesn't quit, and that's the thing we love about him."
Although the Yankees suffered a three-game sweep, they lost just one game in the standings over the weekend to the Red Sox, who lost two of three in Atlanta to the Braves. New York's lead over Boston stands at 7 1/2 games in the American League East. The Yankees swept three from the Red Sox earlier in the week, putting some distance between the two clubs in the division.
The Mets manufactured a run against Vazquez in the first, as Kaz Matsui walked, moved to third on Todd Zeile's single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Piazza. Wigginton boosted the lead to 3-0 in the second with a two-run home run, his ninth of the year.
Bernie Williams put the Yankees on the board in the third with a solo shot of his own against starter Jae Seo, Williams' 10th.
A throwing error by Alex Rodriguez in the third helped the Mets get the lead back to three, as Jason Phillips' sac fly scored Richard Hidalgo, who had advanced to third on A-Rod's miscue. Williams cut the lead to two in the fifth with an RBI single.
Seo pitched into the sixth, leaving with two outs and a runner on third. Mike Stanton got Tony Clark to fly out to end the inning, preserving the two-run lead. Seo was charged with two runs on eight hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings, striking out two.
Vazquez left the game after five, having been pinch-hit for in the top of the sixth. He was charged with four runs (three earned) on six hits, as he walked five batters and struck out five.
"Javy battled his [butt] off," Torre said. "He just didn't have it today."
Williams knocked in his third run of the game in the seventh, singling against Stanton, while Derek Jeter tied the game with an RBI single against Ricky Bottalico, giving the Yankees new life.
But Hidalgo, who had already torched the Yankees for four homers in their first five meetings, struck again in the seventh, blasting a solo shot against Felix Heredia to put the Mets back on top by a run.
The Yankees bounced right back, tying the game again in the eighth on Jorge Posada's RBI single against Orber Moreno. After Tony Clark struck out, Miguel Cairo hit a ball to the right side, which hit Posada in the basepaths. First-base umpire Eric Cooper called Posada out for being hit by the batted ball, prompting an argument from Torre.
"I pointed at Piazza, that he went after the ball, but he called out right away," Posada said. "He didn't even get a chance to acknowledge what was going on."
The ruling on the field stood, but the Yankees announced that they were playing the game under protest. After the game, Torre hinted that the play was a judgment call for Cooper, and that he had in fact made the right call.
"The ruling was that the second baseman had an opportunity, too, but just to get it right, I figured I'd lose nothing by [filing the protest]," Torre said. "It's an umpire's decision, but I didn't want to find out that the rule was other than what they stated to me. I did it as a safety net. I came in and checked it after the game, and if the umpire says that in his estimation that the second baseman has a chance to catch the ball, then he made the right call."
Wigginton led off the bottom of the inning with a solo blast to left off Gordon, his second homer of the day.
"It was a slider that just stayed up," said Gordon, who was named to the All-Star Game on Sunday. "The last two or three weeks, I've been very good with it, but the last two days, I've left it up."
Braden Looper closed out the game -- and the sweep -- for the Mets, tossing a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 16th save of the season.
A-Rod felt a cramp in his side during his seventh-inning at-bat, though he couldn't say whether it was his rib cage or his oblique muscle. Rodriguez went 0-for-4 with a walk, making the last out of the game.
"It was a 1-1 pitch, a fastball away. I took a good swing on it, fouled it straight back. I felt a little bit of a cramp in my abdominal area," Rodriguez said. "I took an awkward swing. I iced it and I should be ready to roll by tomorrow."
The Yankees have seven more games before the All-Star break, hosting the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Judging from the way New York responded the last time they were swept -- they won eight in a row after being swept by the Red Sox -- the Yankees are looking forward to getting back on the field.
"When we get swept by anyone, it shouldn't happen," Rodriguez said. "We don't ever expect that to happen, so we're not happy about that."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.