New York (47-32) at New York (45-32)

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  • Game info: 1:20 pm EDT Sat Jul 1, 2006
  • TV: FOX
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The suddenly slumping New York Mets will look to an unlikely stopper to halt their longest losing streak of the season.

Steve Trachsel seeks to win his fifth consecutive start and help the Mets avoid a fifth straight loss when they continue their weekend Subway Series with the New York Yankees on Saturday.

In a starting rotation including former Cy Young Award winners Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine, Trachsel (6-4, 4.82 ERA) has emerged as the most consistent winner in recent weeks for the Mets (47-32). The 35-year-old right-hander has won his last four outings despite not pitching more than six innings in any of them and posting a 5.24 ERA during the span.

Trachsel allowed four runs and six hits—including two homers—in five innings Sunday at Toronto, but received seven runs of support in the Mets’ 7-4 victory.

Trachsel, who has compiled a 125-139 career record over a 14-year major league career, has never won five straight starts. He is 3-4 with a 3.65 ERA in eight starts against the Yankees, who he hasn’t faced since the 2004 season.

After suffering a three-game sweep to AL East-leading Boston, the Mets managed only one hit against Mike Mussina and four Yankees relievers, losing Friday’s series opener 2-0. The losing skid is the longest of the season for the Mets, who still hold a 10 1/2 -game lead over second-place Florida in the NL East.

“I don’t think it’s a slump,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “We’ve been playing with a lot of house money, and you’re going to go through a little bump in the road.

“Right now, you can say the American League has four to five teams that are a little better than teams in the National League.”

The Mets have not lost five games in a row since a six-game slide from Sept. 5-10.

As the Mets try and break out of their slump, they’ll have to do it against Yankees starter Randy Johnson (9-6, 4.84), who appears to be back on his game. After posting a 6.75 ERA in an 11-start stretch from mid-April through early June, the 42-year-old left-hander has given up just four runs in 20 1-3 innings over his last three outings.

“He just seems very comfortable right now,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said after Johnson allowed four hits over seven innings, walked none and struck out a season-high nine in Monday’s 5-2 victory over Atlanta. “He seems to be able to do what he wants to do. I’m not talking about getting people out, I’m just talking about making pitches.”

Johnson allowed six runs in five innings against the Mets on May 19 at Shea Stadium, not receiving a decision in a 7-6 defeat. He is 6-4 with a 2.99 ERA in 13 career starts versus the Mets.

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4 Friday after hitting a two-run homer in the 12th inning to defeat the Braves 4-3 on Wednesday.

Rodriguez has struggled in his career against Trachsel, going 2-for-17 (.118).

The Yankees (45-32) and Mets have now split their four meetings in the season series.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Trachsel Bal vs. R. Johnson SF
15-8 Record 17-11
4.97 ERA 5.00
79 K 172
78 BB 60
1.60 WHIP 1.24