The Yankees look to win for the 12th time in 15 meetings as this year's version of the Subway Series begins Monday night at Citi Field.
Unable to complete a three-game sweep at Tampa Bay with Sunday's 8-3 loss after losing two of three at Baltimore, the Yankees (30-19) conclude their trip with this brief two-game stay in Queens.
Sunday's defeat and Boston's win over Cleveland drew the Red Sox into a virtual tie with New York atop the AL East.
If their recent performance in the Subway Series is any indication, the Yankees should have a good chance to maintain at least a share of the division lead.
They won five of six from the Mets last season and have outscored them 70-38 during an 11-3 run in the series dating to 2010.
For the first time, the clubs will play four games in four days with the series moving to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Mets, who have hit .179 with runners in scoring position while dropping 12 of 16, snapped an eight-game home losing streak with a 4-2 victory over Atlanta on Sunday.
Ike Davis busted out of a 2-for-44 slump with two hits, including a go-ahead two-run single in a three-run eighth inning, as the Mets ended a five-game skid overall.
"Usually (the Yankees) are one of the premier teams in baseball, so I guess it's a good measuring stick as far trying to win a series against those guys, or beat those guys," third baseman David Wright told the team's official website.
Scheduled Yankees starter Phil Hughes (2-3, 5.51 ERA) seeks a third consecutive winning start against the Mets.
He'll attempt to get the ball to closer Mariano Rivera , who will play in his final regular season Subway Series.
"They've become like another team in our division, because we play them every year," said Rivera, who notched his 500th career save at Citi Field in 2009 and is perfect in 18 opportunities this year.
Hughes is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA in three career starts versus the Mets after allowing two runs and six hits - two homers - over 6 1-3 innings in a 4-2 win June 9.
Wright took the right-hander deep in that contest, and is 7 for 20 with a home run and three RBIs in his last five games against the Yankees.
Lucas Duda went 3 for 4 with a homer Sunday and is batting .351 during a career-best 10-game hitting streak. He's also hit safely in eight straight games versus the Yankees.
The Mets will give the ball to struggling left-hander Jonathon Niese (3-5, 4.80), who is 1-5 with a 5.40 ERA over his last seven starts.
Niese, though, has lasted at least six innings and allowed three runs or less in each of his three career starts against the Yankees, going 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA.
He led the Mets to their only win versus the Yankees last season, yielding two runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 6-4 victory at Citi Field on June 22.
Robinson Cano is 4 for 9 lifetime against Niese and hitting .382 with four homers and 10 RBIs in his last nine games versus the Mets.
|New York Yankees|
|May 25, 2013||Curtis Granderson||15-Day DL||Broken left pinkie finger|
|May 24, 2013||Curtis Granderson||Day-to-Day||Left game - Broken left pinkie finger|
|May 24, 2013||David Phelps||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right arm injury|
|May 17, 2013||Andy Pettitte||15-Day DL||Strained left trapezius muscle|
|May 16, 2013||Andy Pettitte||Day-to-Day||Left game - tight left trapezius|
|May 16, 2013||Chris Stewart||Day-to-Day||Left groin injury|
|New York Mets|
|May 14, 2013||Scott Atchison||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|May 09, 2013||Jeurys Familia||15-Day DL||Right biceps tendinitis|
|April 29, 2013||David Wright||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|April 23, 2013||Jonathon Niese||Day-to-Day||Lower right leg contusion|
|March 22, 2013||Jenrry Mejia||60-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Neck strain|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Daniel Murphy emphatically flipped his bat to the ground while he ran to first on his RBI single to center field.
Take that Brett Gardner .
Murphy had the go-ahead hit in the eighth after being denied a homer by Gardner two innings earlier, and the New York Mets rallied to beat the rival Yankees 2-1 Monday night for their second straight home win after losing eight in a row.
"I was fairly angry after he took that from us," Murphy said.
David Wright hit his first home run at Citi Field this year leading off the seventh. Murphy came through against David Robertson (3-1) to hand the Yankees their first loss in 23 games when leading after six innings.
Murphy's drive to left-center in the sixth was caught above the wall by Gardner to end the inning. The Yankees also threw out a runner at home plate in the eighth just before Murphy singled to center field.
Brandon Lyon (2-2) pitched a scoreless eighth in relief of an impressive Jonathon Niese .
Bobby Parnell pitched the ninth for his eighth save. His first save against the Yankees was a coming of age of sorts in manager Terry Collins opinion.
"If you're going to pitch in this city and you're going to be a closer in this city you've got to pitch in big, big-time situations," Collins said. "This isn't a playoff game but this is the Subway Series and this means a lot to a lot of people."
With the Mets entering at 11 games under .500 and the Yankees playing without several of their injured All-Stars, the Subway Series seemed to have lost much of its luster. There were plenty of empty seats throughout Citi Field and the 32,911 fans were awfully quiet for a game between these clubs.
That could change come Tuesday night, when the Mets send young ace Matt Harvey to the mound against the Yankees' most consistent starter, Hiroki Kuroda , in the second of four straight games between the teams.
"We Harv going tomorrow, it provides us some momentum," Wright said. "If we're going to climb our way back into the thing and start heading towards .500 we're going to have to win these close games ... hopefully we can ride this momentum into tomorrow with Matt's start."
Niese and Phil Hughes showed they could be pretty good, too. Both pitchers are having inconsistent seasons but they worked quickly into the sixth inning, with the game scoreless.
The Yankees took the lead in the sixth when left fielder Lucas Duda came up short on a diving attempt at Gardner's opposite-field liner. The ball scooted past Duda and Gardner raced into third base with a triple. Jayson Nix followed with a single that dropped just in front of charging right fielder Mike Baxter for a 1-0 lead.
Gardner got off to a tough start Monday in the oddly angled center field. He took his eye off Wright's drive to check for the section of the wall in front of the Mets bullpen that is a chain link fence, and it went for a first-inning triple.
There was no looking back the next time.
With Niese on first after his second single of the night, Murphy sent a fly that Gardner tracked to the wall. He jumped in front of the 385-foot marker and caught the ball above the fence.
"I didn't think it was hit as good as it showed," Gardner said. "I didn't realize it was going out."
Niese got Gardner to ground out with runners on second and third to end a threat in the seventh.
Wright fell behind 0-2 leading off the seventh before hitting a full-count pitch into the left-center stands for his seventh homer.
"One of the big things is what David was able to do because the air could've been taken out of us," Murphy said of Wright's homer coming an inning after Murphy lost his to Gardner's catch.
Baxter doubled with one out in the eighth, pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin walked and they moved up on Chris Stewart 's passed ball.
With the infield playing in, Ruben Tejada hit a grounder to second baseman Robinson Cano , who snapped a throw home. Stewart made a sweep tag on Baxter's back as he tried to reach his hand out to touch the plate. With two outs, Murphy followed with a single.
"I did a terrible job. I didn't have command of anything," Robertson said. "I kept getting behind in the count, I couldn't throw any first pitch strikes. It was really tough, frustrating."
Niese allowed eight hits and one run in seven innings. Hughes pitched seven, too, yielding one run and four hits in seven. He struck out six and walked none.
NOTES: Wright has two homers against Hughes in 12 at-bats. ... Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain (right oblique strain) said he should be activated from the DL on Tuesday. ... Yankees LHP Francisco Rondon, designated for assignment on Friday, has been sent outright to Double-A Trenton. ... The Mets will honor Yankees closer Mariano Rivera before Tuesday's game. ... The Mets improved to 7-8 in one-run games.