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YANKEES 8, METS 2

Wang, Yankees top Mets

A-Rod connects for 27th homer

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez and Chien-Ming Wang have been unstoppable the past few weeks, two big reasons the New York Yankees look almost unbeatable right now.

Rodriguez hit his major league-leading 27th homer, Wang came within one out of a complete game, and the Yankees won the second Subway Series of the season last night with an 8-2 victory over the stumbling Mets.

"We know we caught them at a bad time," Johnny Damon said. "We know we're playing very well right now."

Damon and Jorge Posada also homered, helping the Yankees win for the 11th time in 12 games. They finished their finest homestand in nine years with an 8-1 record and split the six-game season series with their crosstown rivals for the third straight year.

Wang (7-4) struck out a career-high 10 and walked one. He scattered six hits, sending the NL East leaders to their 11th loss in 13 games.

"If we had an explanation, we would have fixed it by now," said the Mets' Carlos Delgado. "It's not an excuse, but we haven't been playing the Bad News Bears. We've been playing some pretty good teams playing pretty good baseball."

The Big Apple neighbors are headed in opposite directions -- the Mets have lost five consecutive series, while the Yankees (35-32) have won five in a row to move a season-best three games over .500. The win kept the Yankees 8 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.

Wang is on a roll himself, allowing only four runs in his past three starts covering 24 2/3 innings. Runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award last year, the sinkerballer has won four straight outings and six of seven overall.

"Wang is remarkable," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He's sort of like a knuckleball pitcher. You know what's coming and there's really nothing you can do about it."

Wang gave up an RBI single to Carlos Beltran in the ninth and left to a standing ovation after David Wright grounded into a double play. Mike Myers struck out Delgado on three pitches to end it.

Rodriguez hit a mammoth homer and knocked in three early runs as the Yankees jumped out to a 6-0 lead against Orlando Hernandez (3-3), the second consecutive Mets starter to get roughed up. The righthander allowed six runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, one day after Tom Glavine was tagged for seven runs and eight hits in four innings plus.

"I made a couple of mistakes tonight. Just a rough day," Hernandez said.

Delgado hit an RBI double for the Mets in the seventh. Jose Reyes, a nuisance to the Yankees all series, was cut down on a pitchout in the fourth when he tried to steal second with the Mets trailing, 5-0. He also grounded into a double play for only the second time this season.

Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca left in the fourth with a bruised left triceps, three innings after he was hit by a pitch from Wang.

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