NEW YORK -- With the bases loaded in the first inning, and the Yankee Stadium crowd already sensing another win over their crosstown rivals, Al Leiter quieted the fans and the Bronx Bombers' bats.
After falling behind Jason Giambi, 2-and-0, Leiter came back to throw a called third strike on a pitch the lefthander called a "backup cement mixer." Leiter then retired Jorge Posada on a slow roller to get out of the inning, and the Mets went on to beat up rookie Brad Halsey in a six-run fourth that propelled them to a 9-3 victory yesterday.
"Keep not believing in us," said Cliff Floyd, who homered in the seventh for the Mets' final run.
Jason Phillips doubled past a diving Alex Rodriguez at third for a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning, Jose Reyes followed with an RBI single on an 0-and-2 pitch and had a key stolen base. Then, in his first major league game against Hideki Matsui, Kaz Matsui hit a two-run single that opened a 6-2 lead.
Every Mets starter except Mike Cameron had a hit.
"They beat us up," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "There's not much to talk about. We couldn't get them out."
Playing against a team Leiter (3-2) called "the mighty Yankees," who have the best record in the majors at 45-26, the Mets finished with 12 hits and stopped a seven-game losing streak against their rivals, pulling back to .500 this season at 36-36.
Rodriguez, in his first game against the Mets since he was dealt to the Yankees last winter, came up with runners in scoring position in every at-bat and went 0 for 5. He stranded seven runners, including five on second or third, and is hitting .197 (13 for 66) with runners in scoring position, including .086 (3 for 35) with two outs.
"We were just a little flat," he said.
Overall, the Yankees were just 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position. The Mets got five straight hits with runners in scoring position in the fourth.
"It's a win. It doesn't count as two," Leiter said. "I wish it did."
Derek Jeter, celebrating his 30th birthday, was a quiet 2 for 4 for the Yankees, 24-13 against the Mets in the regular season since interleague play began in 1997.
"Yeah, I'm old," the Yankees captain said.
The teams play a day-night doubleheader today to make up Friday's rainout, with Jose Contreras starting the opener for the Yankees -- his first appearance since reuniting with his family, which defected from Cuba earlier in the week.
Gary Sheffield, who missed three starts because of bursitis in his left shoulder, hit a two-run homer for the Yankees and Hideki Matsui had a solo shot.
In Japan, attention was focused on the game because of the Matsui vs. Matsui matchup. In his first at-bat, Hideki Matsui lined out to Kaz Matsui at shortstop in the second inning. In the sixth, Kaz flied out to Hideki in left. During batting practice, the pair talked about living in New York.
"The atmosphere, the energy, the voltage was high," Kaz Matsui said after playing his first game at Yankee Stadium. "There's probably nothing like it anywhere else."