Yankees 4, Mets 2

Saturday, July 8th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — On the day the New York Yankees and Mets turned back the clock to 1903, Dwight Gooden flashed back to his glory days of the 1980s.

Pitching from the very mound he once owned, Gooden celebrated his return to the big leagues with a Subway Series win as the Yankees beat the Mets 4-2 Saturday in the opener of baseball's most unusual doubleheader in 97 years.

Gooden threw five effective innings and Tino Martinez homered and drove in three runs as the Yankees won at Shea Stadium. The second game was to begin about three and a half hours later at 8:15 p.m. EDT at Yankee Stadium.

It was the first double-ballpark doubleheader in the majors since Sept. 7, 1903, when the New York Giants played the Brooklyn Superbas, later the Dodgers. Both road teams won that day in games at Brooklyn's Washington Park and the Giants' Polo Grounds.

This one was wild from the start. After one pitch, there already had been a rare obstruction call, an argument, the ejection of Mets manager Bobby Valentine and an announcement the Mets were playing the game under protest.

With Gooden (3-3) good enough, the Yankees beat the Mets for the second straight day. The Yankees increased their lead in the cross-town series to 10-6, and won their fourth in a row overall.

Many in the sellout crowd of 54,165 immediately headed for Game 2. For fans, it would take about one hour to ride the No. 7 Flushing train, change at Grand Central Terminal and catch the uptown No. 4 Lexington Avenue line to the Bronx.

About 100 fans looked to get an early start — they watched from a subway platform from beyond the right-field fence, perhaps drawn by the promise of free tokens, which normally cost $1.50.

The Yankees planned to ride a bus back over the Triborough Bridge to their park, figuring it might take a half-hour. The Mets were to have lunch at the Diamond Club at Shea, wait for the clubhouse attendants to do laundry, then change into their road uniforms and bus to Yankee Stadium.

Gooden, traded away by Houston and cut by Tampa Bay earlier this season, pitched at Shea for the first time since June 24, 1994 — a night in which he gave up a then-career high nine runs in a loss to Pittsburgh.

One of the most popular players in Mets' history, Gooden faced his former team for the first time. The Yankees signed him to a minor league contract on June 11 and promoted him before the game.

At 35, the 1985 NL Cy Young winner who helped the Mets win the 1986 World Series did not throw as hard as he once did, struggling to reach 90 mph with his fastball. But he managed to keep the Mets off-balance with off-speed stuff, giving up two runs and six hits. He struck out one, walked one and threw 77 pitches, 49 for strikes.

Benny Agbayani drove in a run for the Mets with a grounder in the second and Derek Bell blooped an RBI double with two outs in the fifth.

Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his 20th save.

Bobby J. Jones (3-4) fell behind 2-0 in the first inning. Martinez's solo home run in the sixth made it 3-2.

Chuck Knoblauch led off the game with a hit to center field and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. But first base umpire Robb Cook ruled that first baseman Todd Zeile had gotten in Knoblauch's way, and awarded him second.

Valentine sprung from the dugout and engaged all four umpires in an argument, tracing Knoblauch's steps in the freshly raked dirt. Replays showed that Zeile, though he never touched Knoblauch, stood in his path and made him take a wide turn.

Valentine eventually was ejected by crew chief Dana DeMuth. Curiously, Zeile and Knoblauch met again in the fourth — Zeile was called out for interfering with the Yankees second baseman as he tried to field a grounder.

The crowd seemed slightly in the Mets' favor. Among the notable exceptions was mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a big Yankees' fan who sat in a front-row seat near his favorite team's dugout.

In the first inning, a stadium employee came down the aisle and offered Mets caps to those sitting in Giuliani's box. The mayor politely declined.

Notes: Roger Clemens was to start the nightcap for the Yankees against Glendon Rusch. ... RHP Ben Ford was sent to Triple-A Columbus to make room for Gooden. ... Gooden won 157 games for the Mets from 1984-1994, second on the team's career list behind Tom Seaver's 198. Gooden has 191 career wins.