NEW YORK -- Mets players rushed out of the dugout and mobbed Shane Spencer at first base yesterday, jumping up and down in jubilation. It could have been a scene after the final out of the World Series.
Their 10-9 victory merely put the Mets in position to win the regular-season Subway Series with the Yankees for the first time.
Spencer's bases-loaded dribbler between the mound and first base, a ball that traveled only 40 feet or so, drove in the winning run against his former team, capping an afternoon of comebacks.
"For us, it was a test," Spencer said. "It shows we can play with the best."
Coming a day after the Mets romped, 11-2, the ending had the season-best Shea Stadium crowd of 55,120 looking ahead to today with shouts of "Sweep!" Fans also took note of the Yankees' three wins over the Red Sox earlier in the week, yelling: "We're not Boston!"
"To sweep 'em would be pretty sweet," Spencer said.
Tony Clark homered twice and tied his career high with four hits, but the Yankees wasted leads of 3-1, 6-4, and 8-6. They loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth and were one pitch from taking the lead when John Franco (2-4) went to a 3-0 count on pinch hitter Jorge Posada.
But Posada took a strike, then took another fastball at the knees for strike two, a pitch he thought should have been ball four. Franco came back with another fastball, this one a smidgeon lower.
After a slight delay, plate umpire Chuck Meriwether called it strike three.
"It seemed like a lifetime," Franco said.
Posada threw his bat, argued and had to be pushed away by Yankees manager Joe Torre. Posada didn't want to talk about the call.
"That was the game basically right there," Mets manager Art Howe said, "because [Mariano Rivera] is coming in if they score there."
Cliff Floyd, Ty Wigginton, and Richard Hidalgo homered off Jose Contreras, but the Mets made two errors that led to four unearned runs and failed to hold leads of 4-3 and 9-8.
With the score 9-9 in the bottom of the ninth, Tanyon Sturtze (3-1) walked Kaz Matsui. After Mike Piazza popped out, Floyd walked and Hidalgo was hit by a pitch. That brought up Spencer, whose two-run double in the seventh put the Mets ahead, 9-8.
The Yankees brought the infield in, and Spencer hit his soft roller. Sturtze fumbled with the ball for a moment and his desperation flip to the plate was high and too late to get Matsui.
"It just kind of rolled up my glove a little bit," Sturtze said. "I tried to hurry it because I knew Kaz was running." The Mets, who have done no better than split against the Yankees since interleague play began in 1997, have won three of five after going 0-6 last year.