- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 13, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - It’s happened before in tens of thousands of games, a simple popup for the final out.

This time, not so simple.

Alex Rodriguez slammed his bat, then threw it after lofting a two-out pop to second baseman Luis Castillo. The first Subway Series game at new Yankee Stadium was over.

Not so fast.

Castillo allowed the ball to pop out of his glove as Derek Jeter scored from second and Mark Teixeira from first, giving the Yankees a wild 9-8 victory over the Mets on Friday night.

“As soon as I slid in, I hugged Jete and I said, `What just happened?’ because I couldn’t believe it,” Teixeira said.

David Wright had put the Mets ahead 8-7 with an eighth-inning double off Mariano Rivera (1-2), and Francisco Rodriguez (1-1) appeared to escape a ninth-inning jam on the pop by A-Rod, just 1 for 17 in his career off K-Rod, including the postseason.

But Castillo kept drifting toward the foul line and dropped the ball as he tried for a one-handed catch on the right field grass. The Yankees ran onto the field to celebrate.

A few minutes later, Castillo sat alone in the visitor’s clubhouse, leaning forward, his elbows on his knees, his head resting on his hands. His eyes were reddening.

A three-time Gold Glove winner, Castillo called it a “routine fly ball.”

“I feel bad. I feel so bad,” he said following his fifth error of the season. “The ball was moving a little bit.”

It was yet another stunning defeat for the Mets, who keep finding new ways to lose. They lost to Florida on April 12 when left fielder Daniel Murphy dropped Cody Ross’ fly ball. And on May 18 they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers after Ryan Church missed third base en route to not scoring the go-ahead run in the 11th inning.

“We’ll have to fight through this,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “This is definitely a tremendous test for us.”

Both teams came in staggering. The Yankees had been swept in a three-game series at Boston’s Fenway Park and the Mets lost to Philadelphia in extra innings on consecutive days.

Gary Sheffield homered for the Mets, and Robinson Cano, Teixeira, Jeter and Hideki Matsui connected for the Yankees, who wasted leads of 1-0, 3-2 and 7-6 before winning. Matsui turned 35 and homered on his birthday for the second straight year _ last year he hit a grand slam off Oakland’s Joe Blanton.

“Of course, we feel like we just stole one,” Jeter said. “We were lucky. That’s just the bottom line.”

Jeter had singled with one out and stole second as pinch-hitter Johnny Damon struck out on the ninth pitch. Teixeira was intentionally walked and Alex Rodriguez got ahead 3-0 before taking a strike and then popping up.

Teixeira focused on third base coach Rob Thomson and ran hard from first the entire way. Castillo threw from his knees to second, and Teixeira easily beat shortstop Alex Cora’s relay.

“When he started waving me, I, you know, put it into second gear,” Teixeira said. “I don’t have a third, fourth and fifth.”

It was the first blown save by K-Rod in 17 chances this season.

“I still don’t believe it,” A-Rod said. “I couldn’t believe what I saw. I’ve never seen that before.”

Rangers 6, Dodgers 0

Hank Blalock homered as the Rangers got shutouts on consecutive nights at home for the first time in 29 seasons.

Vicente Padilla (5-3) threw 108 pitches in five innings before Jason Jennings went three innings and Jason Grilli closed Texas’ fifth shutout of the season. Hiroki Kuroda (1-2) allowed five runs _ four earned _ over 5 1-3 innings for Los Angeles.

Giants 3, Athletics 0

At San Francisco, Tim Lincecum (6-1) pitched a seven-hitter in the Bay Bridge Series opener for his third career complete game and first this season. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner struck out eight and walked one to win his sixth straight decision since an April 12 loss at San Diego. He also singled home the first major league run allowed by rookie Vin Mazzaro (2-1).

Angels 11, Padres 6

At Anaheim, Calif., Torii Hunter and Kendry Morales homered and Maicer Izturis tied a career high with four hits for the Angels.

Matt Palmer (6-0) allowed four runs _ three earned _ and 10 hits over six innings in his first start since May 30. The 30-year-old rookie joined teammate Jered Weaver as the only starting pitchers in franchise history to win their first six decisions with the club.

San Diego’s Chad Gaudin (2-5) gave up eight runs and 10 hits in three-plus innings.

Twins 7, Cubs 4

Minnesota’s Joe Mauer had a homer and three RBIs, and Kevin Slowey became the majors’ second nine-game winner.

Slowey (9-2) allowed three runs in six innings at Wrigley Field. Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 14th save. Randy Wells (0-3) was the loser.

Indians 7, Cardinals 3

Shin-Soo Choo got the job done again _ this time without any avian assistance.

A day after his winning hit glanced off a gull in the outfield, Choo drove in three runs to help Indians rookie David Huff get his second big league win.

Huff (2-2), making his sixth major league start, gave up a leadoff homer to Albert Pujols in the fourth and left with one out in the eighth after allowing three runs. Joel Pineiro (5-7) gave up three runs in 6 1-3 innings for visiting St. Louis.

Red Sox 5, Phillies 2,

Jacoby Ellsbury hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the 13th as visiting Boston won an interleague matchup between division leaders.

Ryan Howard’s solo homer off fill-in closer Ramon Ramirez with one in the ninth tied it, but the Phillies couldn’t pull out their third straight comeback win in extra innings.

Takashi Saito (2-0) got his only batter, Jimmy Rollins, to bounce into a double play ending the 12th. Daniel Bard pitched a scoreless 13th for his first save.

Marlins 7, Blue Jays 3

At Toronto, Roy Halladay left after three innings because of a sore groin. Cody Ross hit a tiebreaking grand slam off Brandon League (1-3) and Chris Coghlan had a career-high four hits for Florida.

Dan Meyer (1-0) pitched one inning for his first major league victory.

Tigers 3, Pirates 1

Detroit’s Rick Porcello (7-4) allowed one run and six hits in six innings and had a pair of RBI singles for his first major league hits..

The Pirates and Tigers opened a weekend interleague series on the same night the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Red Wings 2-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at Detroit. The crowd of 18,369 at PNC Park erupted twice in the late innings after Penguins center Max Talbot scored two second-period goals. Ian Snell (1-7) was the loser.

Brewers 7, White Sox 2

Struggling Corey Hart drove in three runs on a double and a triple and saved two more with a diving catch for host Milwaukee, which ended a four-game skid.

Jeff Suppan (5-4) worked 6 2-3 innings and had two hits for the Brewers. Octavio Dotel (1-2) got the loss.

Royals 4, Reds 1

Luke Hochevar (3-2) threw a three-hitter at Kansas City in his first career complete game and Alberto Callaspo hit a two-run homer. Billy Butler also homered off Matt Maloney (0-1).

Braves 7, Orioles 2

At Baltimore, Brian McCann tied a career high with four hits and Tommy Hanson (1-0) got his first major league victory in his second start, allowing two runs, nine hits and five walks in 5 2-3 innings.

Jason Berken (1-3) gave up four runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings for Baltimore, which has lost 10 of 12.

Rockies 6, Mariners 4

At Denver, Ubaldo Jimenez (5-6) pitched an eight-hitter for his second career complete game and had an RBI single as Colorado won its ninth straight, two shy of the franchise record set two years ago. Troy Tulowitzki homered and Dexter Fowler drove in a run with a squeeze bunt for the Rockies.

Jarrod Washburn (3-5) allowed five runs _ four earned _ and six hits in six innings.

Rays 4, Nationals 3

One pitch after first baseman Nick Johnson dropped a foul pop that prolonged his at-bat, Gabe Kapler hit a tiebreaking pinch-homer off Ron Villone (3-2) in the eighth.

J.P. Howell (2-2), the fourth Tampa Bay pitcher, worked 1 1-3 innings.

National League

Diamondbacks 8, Astros 1

At Phoenix, Dan Haren (5-4) pitched his first career two-hitter and Mark Reynolds drove in five runs.

Reynolds doubled in the first, third and fifth innings against Mike Hampton (4-5). He hit a three-run homer off Brandon Backe in the sixth for a 6-1 lead.

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