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Errors take their toll

Yankees survive on Mets' blunders

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees made their share of mistakes. The revamped Mets' blunders were more costly.

The Yankees scored twice in the sixth inning on consecutive errors by Kaz Matsui and Doug Mientkiewicz and went on to a 5-2 victory last night in the first game of this year's Subway Series.

''It feels a lot better when you have a sloppy game and you win," said Jeter, who made two errors in an inning for the first time since Sept. 3, 2002, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Tony Womack walked twice, stole a base, and hustled to score two runs, and Hideki Matsui drove in two of the eight Yankees who reached on walks.

The Yankees won for the 11th time in 12 games overall and ended a three-game losing streak to their crosstown rival, improving to 27-16 against the Mets since interleague play began in 1997.

For the first time since 2000, the reinvigorated Mets came into the Subway Series with a better record than the Yankees, but their new Gold Glove first baseman made an error that led to a run and high-priced newcomer Carlos Beltran left two runners in scoring position before getting an RBI single in the seventh.

''Errors happen and you just hope that if and when they happen, they don't cost you a run," Mientkiewicz said. ''If I had to do it over, I'd do the same thing."

Facing his mentor, Joe Torre, for the first time, Mets manager Willie Randolph gambled on the bases, sending his base runners often, and in the field, bringing the infield in during the fourth inning of a scoreless game.

Randolph's decision to bring the infield in backfired when Hideki Matsui lined a double past Mientkiewicz at first for a run. The Mets got a run back in the bottom half when Jeter made two errors.

Fans will have to wait until the weekend to see the marquee offseason pitching acquisitions -- Randy Johnson starts for the Yankees today, and Pedro Martinez will pitch for the Mets tomorrow.

On this night, when a 55-degree temperature and a brisk breeze took the buzz out of sellout crowd, Victor Zambrano (2-4) and Kevin Brown (3-4) struggled with their control. Zambrano walked six in 5 1/3 nnings, and Brown walked four in five innings.

Brown, who won his third straight start, gave up only three hits and an unearned run. He struck out five to shut down the Mets, who were coming off a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds.

''I thought he did a good job changing speeds off his fastball," Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said. ''There were a lot of balls off the end of the bat. He kept the ball down the entire way."

Four Yankees relievers pitched four innings of one-run ball, with Mariano Rivera working a perfect ninth for his eighth save to complete a five-hitter. The Yankees, who like the Mets are 22-20, matched their season high of two games over .500.

Rivera became the first Yankees pitcher to appear in 600 regular-season games when he entered in the ninth.

''It's good," Rivera said. ''But I don't emphasize too much on that stuff."

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