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Mets Reclaim Shea

The last stop of the Subway Series gave New York baseball fans a chance to dream how great an October rematch would be.

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    Forum: Will there be a Subway World Series this year?

  • The last out left them wondering, what happened?

    The Mets salvaged the final game of their hyped three-game set against the Yankees on Sunday night with a controversial run in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 2-1 win.

    With runners at first and third and one out, pinch-hitter Luis Lopez hit a fly ball to right off Ramiro Mendoza (5-2) that Paul O'Neill raced back to catch for out No. 2. Carlos Baerga, the runner at third, retreated back to tag up for a sacrifice fly.

    As Baerga crossed the plate for what appeared to be the winning run Brian McRae, who was the runner at first, was racing back to first to avoid getting doubled up.

    The Yankees rushed to get the ball back to first, and when first baseman Tino Martinez made a diving catch of Derek Jeter's throw, first base umpire Bruce Dreckman called McRae out and the Yankees thought they were going to extra innings.

    The Mets bench, which had gathered near the plate to greet Baerga, erupted in protest with Baerga being restrained by coach Cookie Rojas. After several anxious moments and with 53,749 fans not sure of the outcome, home plate umpire Frank Pulli pointed toward the plate, indicating the run had scored before another out had been recorded.

    Rule 2.00 of the Official Baseball Rules backed p Pulli's call -- the run counts as long as it scored before the third out was recorded.

    Dennis Cook (4-2) struck out three in two innings for the win.

    The finale of the second interleague meeting between New York's two teams was played with all the intensity of a World Series game. Each pitch drew a reaction from the fans, who once again seemed to be pretty evenly split.

    And true to New York's melting pot image, a rookie pitcher from Cuba and one from Japan gave the game an international flair and quality pitching.

    Yankees starter Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez allowed just two hits in eight innings. Making just his fifth major-league start, he walked five -- four in the first two innings -- and struck out nine.

    Masato Yoshii was equally brilliant for the Mets, limiting the Yankees to two hits in seven innings with a season-high 10 striketouts.

    Hernandez, who looked like he might not get out of the first inning, nearly had a no-hitter through six. But with two outs in the sixth, his wild pitch on strike three allowed Mike Piazza to reach first.

    John Olerud then fouled off three pitches with the count full before hitting a lazy single to right that O'Neill had to short-hop. Baerga then knocked a single through the middle to make it 1-0.

    The Yankees didn't give Mets fans much chance to gloat about their lead, however. With one out, Scott Brosius drove Yoshii's 1-0 pitch into the left-field bullpen for his eighth homer.

    Yoshii didn't give up a hit until Jeter's two-out single in the fifth.

    Chuck Knoblauch walked with two outs before Jeter dropped a soft liner into right. However, Yoshii retired O'Neill on a foul down the third-base line that left fielder Bernard Gilkey grabbed near the railing after a long run.

    Incredibly, Hernandez escaped the first without giving up a run despite walking three and going to 3-2 counts the first four hitters.

    He got a double play, when with the runners moving on a 3-2 pitch, he struck out Piazza and Edgardo Alfonzo was thrown out trying to steal third. Olerud then walked but Baerga tapped out.

    Yoshii avoided his own mess in the second when he yielded a pair of two-out walks before striking out Chad Curtis and Brosius.


  • Two of baseball's perfect pitchers, David Wells and Don Larsen, who attended the same San Diego high school, talked for about 15 minutes in the Yankees dugout before the game. It was the first time they had met. Wells had spoken to Larsen by phone after pitching his perfect game on May 17.
  • Valentine and some of the local media have been at odds this weekend after some of the manager's moves on Friday night were second-guessed in the papers and on sports talk radio.
  • Actor-comedian Billy Crystal threw ou the ceremonial first pitch.
  • Todd Hundley had two putouts and an error playing right field for the Mets' Port St. Lucie team on Sunday. The All-Star catcher, who is switching positions, also went 0-for-3 with three walks.

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