The Mets look to inch closer to first place in the NL East when they face the Yankees in the final regular season meeting between the rivals this season.
After coasting to an 11-2 victory in the series opener on Friday, the Mets pulled out a wild 10-9 win on Saturday when Shane Spencer’s fielder’s choice scored Kaz Matsui in the bottom of the ninth.
Spencer and Cliff Floyd each drove in three runs and Matsui finished with three hits and four runs as the Mets won their third straight after losing five of seven.
“For us it was a test,” Spencer said. “It shows we can play with the best. To sweep ‘em would be pretty sweet.”
Though they are only one game above .500, the Mets are one of four teams within three games of first place in the NL East. Philadelphia, Florida, Atlanta and the Mets all appear to have a legitimate shot at winning the division.
Saturday’s win also gives the Mets a chance to sweep the Yankees in a series for the first time since interleague play began in 1997. The Yankees have never lost a season series to the Mets, going 26-15, including 2-3 this season.
“We better win tomorrow, then,” said Yankees manager Joe Torre, only half-joking.
Richard Hidalgo hit his 10th home run of the season Saturday, his sixth in 14 games since joining the Mets in a trade with Houston. He is batting .327 (18-for-55) with 11 RBIs as a Met.
Yankees first baseman Tony Clark had a huge game against his former team on Saturday, matching a career high with four hits that included two home runs and four RBIs.
Even Clark’s performance couldn’t prevent the Yankees from losing their second straight following a three-game sweep of the archrival Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees haven’t dropped three in a row since a season-high four-game skid from April 22-25. They are assured of losing only their second series since dropping two of three to Texas from May 21-23.
Third baseman Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4 Saturday, and has one hit in his last 17 at-bats, dropping his average from .307 to .276. He is batting .213 (16-for-75) this season with runners in scoring position.
“Alex is struggling right now,” Torre said. “He’s up there with 19 home runs, but Alex has gotten us used to him being the perfect player. He’s looking for that swing right now.”