Mets drop the ball in Subway Series twinbill

Get us outta here. <P> The Mets won't look back fondly upon their long, deflating day in the Bronx Sunday, dropping both ends of their double-admission doubleheader in convincing fashion.

History should have told you that the Mets might struggle, as they'd never won a single game in the two times the Mets and Yankees had previously met for two games in the same day.

The track record didn't disappoint, as Jose Contreras gassed the Mets for a career-high 10 strikeouts over six innings in the afternoon contest and Ruben Sierra collected five RBI in the nightcap, boosting a mediocre Mike Mussina to win his eighth straight decision.

While Matt Ginter struggled mightily in his first-ever start at Yankee Stadium, serving up seven runs and seven hits in three-plus innings, it was especially a frustrating return to the Bronx for Mets reliever Mike Stanton.

The former Yankee, making his first appearance in the Bronx as a Met, served up a grand slam to Hideki Matsui in the day game and allowed two-run singles to Sierra and Miguel Cairo in the evening contest.

The latter four-run outburst came in the seventh inning and essentially buried the Mets after they'd battled back to close a five-run deficit to 7-5, evidence that it wasn't all bad for the Mets all day.

Leading the charge for the Amazin's was newcomer Richard Hidalgo, who logged three hits and slugged two solo homers off of Mussina, while Mike Cameron also continued his red-hot hitting with a solo shot, his tenth.

Eric Valent, who had three hits in the nightcap, reached the upper deck in right field with a solo homer in the ninth inning off of reliever Bret Prinz after the Yankees had already put the game away.

The showing didn't bear extremely positive thoughts for next weekend at Shea Stadium, when these two clubs meet again for Round Two of the one-sided Subway Series, but the Mets should probably have considered themselves lucky to come away from the Yankees series with at least one win in hand.

You may not buy the double-talk spewed by players about how this is just another series – Cliff Floyd was irked by the Yankees' robotic dismissal of the weekend – but the Mets clearly place a higher value on games played within their own division, which is why Tom Glavine will miss a start against the Bombers at Shea next weekend and start against the Philadelphia Phillies instead.

A 'WARDROBE MALFUNCTION'?: The Mets goofed in the uniform department Sunday night, as catcher Tom Wilson and pitcher Jose Parra were both forced to wear black home jerseys with 'Mets' across the front.

The correct black road jersey reads 'New York', but apparently the Mets either did not bring the jersey on the road with them from Shea Stadium, or more likely considering the proximity of the two ballparks, had not created one for the relatively new players.

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