Homers lead way as Mets down Yanks

Mets 'jack' Yanks

NEW YORK -- As much as the Mets would have had us all believe they turned the page after that dreadful loss Saturday afternoon, it wasn't that way at all. And Billy Wagner, the man most responsible for the Saturday's loss, was most responsible for making the 5-4 loss a topic of conversation Sunday night when the Mets and Yankees reconvened for the Interleague Interlude, Part 3.

He discussed it or made passing reference to it in a dozen conversations before the third New York-New York engagement, including chats with Willie Randolph and David Wright.

"I told Willie, 'I don't care what the score is, I want to be in there tonight,'" Wagner recounted as he dressed early Monday morning. "And I said to David 'The Yankees ain't gonna like me tonight the way they liked me yesterday.'

"I wasn't bragging, I was just kind of stating a fact. I had some unfinished business to tend to."

And this time, he made it his business to finish the Yankees.

As it turned out, the score -- Mets 4, Yankees 3 -- demanded Wagner when Part 3 reached the ninth inning. Randolph may have had a choice Saturday, but by the ninth Sunday night, he was, to use a baseball phrase, out of options.

"A no-brainer," the manager called it.

"It was my time," Wagner said. "It was time to be myself."

What he provided was something less than a clean save, nothing approaching his 12-pitch, three-strikeout inning Friday night. Even on breezy, cool evening, Wagner made his constituency sweat. But in the end, he made his opponent whimper. Two strikeouts, two hits, three outs, one save and one about-face that would please any drill sergeant.

This time, the score exiting the ninth was as it had been entering the ninth. And Wagner loved it.

"It was only right that it was one run," he said. "I wouldn't have had it any other way. I wanted to pitch no matter what, just like I told Willie. But I wanted a one-run game."

So he acknowledged a debt to Duaner Sanchez who allowed the Yankees' third run in the eighth inning and earned his ninth save, a sense of satisfaction greater than any he had experienced thus far in his brief Mets tenure and, probably, some points with the constituency.

"I don't know for sure what they must have been calling me [Saturday], but I'm pretty sure I showed 'em tonight that I'm not that," Wagner said.

Wagner's two ninth innings -- Sunday and its evil twin, Saturday -- obscured much of what happened in the Mets' 42nd game. Lost in all his ninth-inning redemption was the 282nd victory of Tom Glavine's career, a mammoth home run by David Wright, a three-run home run by Carlos Delgado, the critical hit in their four-run rally in the fourth and the utter brilliance of Jose Reyes at shortstop.

On any other day, anyone of them could have been the primary storyline. But as the crowd of 56,205 crammed the exit ramps of Shea, most of them expressed two thoughts. They disparaged the Yankees and chanted, "Bil-ly, Bil-ly."

"You're only as good as your last game," Wagner said. On this night, he was much better than he had been in what had been his last game. He struck out Robinson Cano on three pitches.

"Those were pretty awesome pitches," Paul Lo Duca, his catcher, said.

A bloop single by Bernie Williams and a single by Melky Cabrera created the tension that Wagner says fuels his fastball. He struck out Kelly Stinnett and, with runners on first and second and both teams on the top steps of their dugouts, he made Miguel Cairo -- a ground ball to second base -- the 27th out.

"I'm never going to be as good as they want me to be," he said. "Unless, by some miracle, in my four years here, we win four World Series.

"But it doesn't matter if I'm not the guy across town. Mariano [Rivera] is great, and he's lost games. So did I. Life goes on. I was pleased for myself, yeah. But I was pleased Tommy got his win, and I didn't screw it up for the guys who hit the home runs."

Glavine (7-2) put his season record five games over .500 for the first time in his three-plus seasons with the Mets, allowing two tainted runs in the fourth inning and seven hits and four walks in six innings. Yankees starter Aaron Small (0-2) was the losing pitcher.

The Mets had used the first three innings to get acquainted with Small. He had opposed them twice previously -- once in 1998 and again in 2002. But none of the current personnel had faced him. Cliff Floyd -- who tripled in the second -- was their lone baserunner in the first three innings.

The second time through the order was no Small consolation. He allowed hits to the first four batters. Lo Duca singled to center, and Carlos Beltran singled to left before Delgado hit his 15th home run -- it was his second three-run home run and the Mets' fifth -- over the right-field fence.

Just as the third straight sellout crowd began to settle down, Wright crushed his sixth home run to an area seldom reached -- beyond the visitors' bullpen. Longtime observers recalled only two other balls hit to that area -- Dave Kingman, as a member of the Giants in 1972, and Mike Piazza against Ramiro Mendoza in an Interleague game.

Wright had hit his longest single -- to the warning track in center -- to win the ganme Friday night. If this wasn't his longest home run -- he crushed one in Milwaukee last season -- then it was runnerup.

"He even tried to pimp it," Floyd said. "But he's got no pimp."

Glavine would have shut out the Yankees in his six innings if not for two poor defensive plays behind him in the fourth. A wind-blown popup by Williams fell untouched -- and momentarily unretrieved -- between first baseman Delgado and catcher Lo Duca. Williams reached second base. After Glavine retired Cabrera and walked Stinnett, Small's sacrifice bunt advanced the runners. Glavine hit Johnny Damon to load the bases for Jeter.

The Yankees captain hit a playable ground ball to the left of David Wright. The ball went under Wright's glove, off Reyes' and into short left, scoring Williams and Stinnett.

There would have been more damage, but the Mets turned three double plays, two for Glavine, the first of which featured a stunning, no-look throw to first by Reyes after he had taken a flip from Kaz Matsui.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.