Inside Pitch: Mets happy to exit Subway

The Mets are happy to be done with the Subway Series. The series against the Yankees always creates overwhelming attention and stress.

"It's like nothing else matters to some of the fans," OF Cliff Floyd said. "It's like a relief when it's finally over."

It's also good to be home. After a 12-game road trip against the Athletics, Mariners, Phillies and Yankees, the Mets start a six-game homestand against the Phillies and Nationals on Tuesday. It will be the first game at Shea Stadium since June 12.

The Mets are 5-3 against the Phillies and just took two of three at Citizens Bank Ballpark. The Nationals have risen to the top of the National League East. The Mets badly need to play well against them now rather than risk desperation later.

"I think we're getting there," manager Willie Randolph said. "I'm seeing certain things -- like how we handle situational hitting -- that lead me to believe we might be turning a corner."


  • RHP Pedro Martinez was mocked by the crowd at Yankee Stadium on Friday night when the first batter he faced, Derek Jeter, homered to center field.

    But Martinez was dominant otherwise. He allowed two runs on six hits over eight innings as the Mets beat the Yankees 6-4.

    Martinez (8-2) walked two, struck out three and retired 16 of the last 18 batters he faced.

    "It was typical Pedro," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "He was awesome as usual."

    In two games against the Yankees this season, Martinez has allowed three runs over 15 innings.

    Once Martinez got a 5-2 lead, he worked quickly and confidently. The Yankees, who have had success in the past driving up his pitch count, made him throw only 105 over eight innings.

    "If I get the lead, I'm going to make it happen," Martinez said. "I was in command of the game."

  • RF Mike Cameron's tenure as leadoff hitter lasted one game. Jose Reyes was back atop the lineup on Thursday and appeared right at home.

    Reyes was 3-for-5, stole three bases and scored a run as the Mets beat the Phillies 4-3.

    "I put Jose back in the leadoff spot. I had a good feeling. For some reason he sees the ball real well here," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "When he's getting his hits, he looks like a leadoff guy. He gets us going."

    Reyes is 9-for-23 since Randolph hit him second against Seattle on Saturday. He had been struggling to get on base prior to that.

    "Maybe that helped me get going, I don't know," Reyes said. "I'm starting to feel good at the plate again."

    Reyes has stolen 22 bases in 28 attempts. The three on Thursday matched a career high.

  • RHP Victor Zambrano had the misfortune of facing the Phillies on Wednesday night, a few hours after Tampa Bay's Scott Kazmir pitched seven strong innings to beat the Yankees.

    The trade of Kazmir for Zambrano still upsets a large segment of Mets fans though it was completed nearly a year ago. But Zambrano can't be blamed for what happened on Wednesday.

    He pitched six strong innings of his own. But a lack of run support and poor bullpen worked doomed him again as the Phillies beat the Mets 8-4.

    Royce Ring, Aaron Heilman and Dae-Sung Koo allowed six runs in the seventh inning as the Mets lost for the 10th time in 13 games.

    The Mets, now 7 1/2 games out of first, haven't won consecutive games since June 6 and 7.

    "No consistency," said Cliff Floyd, who homered for the Mets. "We can't put good games together. This has been tough to go through."

    Zambrano has, compiling a 2.89 ERA over his last six starts. But he is 1-3 in those games as the Mets have scored only 14 runs.

    "I don't think about those things. I just worry about the game I am pitching that day," he said. "I never look at the past. I just and try and pitch the best I can."

  • 3B David Wright played his first game in Yankee Stadium. "This was one of the parks I really wanted to see," he said. "This is exciting. There will be a few butterflies, I'm sure." He was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

  • OF Carlos Beltran hit his ninth home run of the season Friday. Eight have come in games started by Martinez.

  • Manager Willie Randolph was well received in his first game back at Yankee Stadium after spending 11 seasons as a coach with the team. "This is home for me," Randolph, who also played with the Yankees. "Yankee Stadium is still the best stadium in baseball. It always feel good when I'm on the field. It's a great ballpark and it brings back a lot of memories for me."

  • 3B David Wright learned not to take anything for granted. With a runner on third and one out in the second inning, Philadelphia's Mike Lieberthal hit a low line drive at him. Wright, believing he caught the ball, stepped on third. But umpire Tony Randazzo ruled the ball hit the grass first, which television replays confirmed. A run scored. "I thought I caught it," Wright said. "I guess next time I should throw to the plate if there is any doubt. I had never been in that situation before."

  • RHP Kris Benson is 5-for-17 at the plate with three RBIs. "The key is not taking batting practice," he said. "I just swing in games."

    BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Number of home runs Mike Piazza has had as a DH in interleague games. That is a record for National League players.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I have nothing but respect for the Yankees, for the organization and for the players. All I want is to beat them when I can. That's all I want. I don't want any enemies." -- RHP Pedro Martinez on his "daddies."

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