Stung by a three-run homer from Jeromy Burnitz in the first inning, the struggling Weaver quickly settled down. He took charge after, pitching the Yankees past the New York Mets 5-3 Sunday night for a season sweep of the Subway Series.
“It’s been a long time waiting,” Weaver said. “I’ve battled through a lot of things. Back and forth, mentally and emotionally.”
Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada homered in a rapid-fire third inning off Al Leiter, and the largest crowd of the season at Yankee Stadium— 55,444—saw the Yankees finish 6-0 against their city rivals.
The Yankees tied their longest winning streak of the year at seven and reached the halfway mark at 51-30.
Bounced in and out of the rotation lately, Weaver (4-6) had been 0-4 in six starts since his last victory on May 15. He pitched three-hit ball for seven innings and retired 14 straight batters at one stretch.
“You scratch your head,” Torre said. “Everytime you send him out there, you feel this is going to be the game. Tonight was a huge game for him.”
Especially because some tough choices are coming up. Rookie Brandon Claussen was impressive in his major league debut Saturday night against the Mets, and there’s not much room left in a rotation that already includes Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, David Wells and Andy Pettitte.
“It’s not between Weaver and Claussen,” the manager said. “Whatever, it was big for him tonight. He had a big smile on his face.”
Mets manager Art Howe, meanwhile, was ejected for the first time this season as his team lost its fifth straight and ninth in 10 games.
“This is not a happy moment in our baseball lives, that’s for sure,” Leiter said.
Leiter (8-5) gave up three homers in an inning for the first time in his career. They came in a span of only 10 pitches and accounted for the Yankees’ runs.
After Alfonso Soriano walked with one out and Derek Jeter singled, Giambi hit a high, long drive to left-center. With two outs, Matsui lined a shot into the right-field seats and Posada followed with a homer to left.
The inning was set up when Soriano hustled into third base on Jeter’s single, barely beating the throw from center fielder Timo Perez. Howe, upset by umpire Tim Timmons’ strike zone Saturday night, didn’t like Timmons’ call at third, either, and was tossed.
Howe said he was certain third baseman Ty Wigginton tagged Soriano in time. The manager said that when he came onto the field, he asked Wigginton what happened and Timmons told him, “Don’t ask him.”
“That’s way out of line, as far as I’m concerned,” Howe said. “That’s when I lost it.”
Giambi’s homer was his 22nd and second in two games. Matsui hit a grand slam and reached base in nine of 10 plate appearances during Saturday’s two-park doubleheader sweep.
When Burnitz homered, Weaver shook both of his hands in frustration and shouted in disgust. He was booed leaving the mound when the inning ended.
“I got a little angry, and stayed angry,” said Weaver, who admitted bad things “snowballed” on him earlier this year.
In the seventh, the Yankees saw some positive emotion from Weaver. Cliff Floyd led off with a double, the Mets’ first hit since Burnitz homered, and Burnitz popped out.
Weaver hopped off the mound when he struck out Wigginton with a sidearm breaking ball, then slammed his right hand into his glove when he retired Jason Phillips on a fly ball.
The Yankees became the first team to sweep a season series in the New York-New York matchup, outscoring the Mets 39-19. The Yankees, of course, beat the Mets in the most meaningful Subway Series of all, the five-game World Series in 2000.
“I certainly felt we were going to win a few, to be honest with you,” Howesaid. “They deserved to win, they outplayed us.”
Mets LHP John Franco tweaked his right foot when he stepped awkwardly on first base while covering the bag in the seventh inning. After a few warmups, he stayed in the game. … Howe, Burnitz and Mets RHP David Weathers were ejected in the six-game Subway Series. No Yankees were thrown out. … Leiter walked six in six innings. He’s walked exactly six in four of his last eight starts. … The Yankees hit consecutive homers for the second straight game. Soriano and Jeter led off Saturday night’s game at Shea Stadium withshots.