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 Sunday 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 defeat in 13 games.
“If we had an explanation, we would have fixed it by now,” Mets slugger Carlos Delgado said. “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.
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.”
Rodriguez hit a mammoth homer and knocked in three early runs as the Bronx Bombers jumped out to a 6-0 lead against ex-Yankee Orlando Hernandez (3-3), the second consecutive Mets starter to get roughed up. The right-hander 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-plus innings while blowing three early leads.
“I made a couple of mistakes tonight. Just a rough day,” said Hernandez, who fell to 0-4 with a 5.70 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees.
The last time the Yankees lost no more than once on a homestand of at least nine games was August 1998, when they went 10-1, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Yankees, who stayed 8 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East, begin a nine-game road trip Tuesday night in Colorado.
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.
“Maybe something that’ll never happen again,” Torre said.
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. Hernandez hit Bobby Abreu in the right shoulder with a fifth-inning pitch.
In the first, Rodriguez hit a two-run shot to the back corner of the Mets’ bullpen in left field well beyond the row of retired numbers—a drive that appeared to travel at least 450 feet. The Yankees don’t estimate home run distances the way many teams do.
Rodriguez, who connected for the second consecutive day, has eight homers in his last 14 games and 26 RBIs in his past 12. It was his 491st career home run.
A-Rod made a diving stop at third base to rob Delgado in the second. Miguel Cairo hit a two-out RBI double in the bottom half and Damon followed with a run-scoring single to make it 4-0.
Abreu tripled leading off the third and scored when Beltran made a difficult, running catch on Rodriguez’s deep sacrifice fly to center. Rodriguez has 73 RBIs, nine more than anyone else in the majors.
“That’s a pretty good season already,” Damon said. “The guy’s amazing. He definitely has a bunch of records in his future.”
Damon homered to the short porch in right leading off the fifth, his fourth of the year and first since May 30 at Toronto.
The Mets needed help to get on the scoreboard. Wright reached on a wild pitch when he struck out with two down in the seventh, and Delgado followed with an RBI double.
Rodriguez doubled in the eighth and Posada hit a two-run shot off Aaron Heilman.
“When they start swinging the bats, they’re hard to beat,” Wright said.
The Yankees have won 19 of their last 20 interleague series at home. … Wright went 0-for-4, ending his 17-game hitting streak. … Torre has 2,008 victories as a manager, one behind Leo Durocher for ninth place on the career list. … Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 12 games.