Mets fans: Do you believe in karma?

Yankees GM Brian Cashman does.

I asked him this morning for his assessment of the Mets, who are right in the thick of the NL East race and, by their won-loss record, a couple of games better than the Yankees. They come to the Bronx on Friday night for a three-game interleague series that will turn out to be a lot more significant than anyone could have predicted before the start of the season.

"They clearly are a test,'' Cashman said. "We know they're fighters.''

And it sounded as if Cashman suspects there might be more to the Mets' early-season success than that.

He pointed toward Johan Santana's no-hitter Friday night -- the first by a Mets pitcher after a half-century of futility -- and more than that, the apparently missed call on Carlos Beltran's liner that was ruled a foul ball, as a sign that the fortunes of the New York's junior franchise might be about to change.

"I believe in karma and I believe in the power of positive things,'' Cashman said. "They've had their fair share of bad luck and when you see a play like that, maybe that's a turning point for them.''

Especially coming as it did at the expense of Beltran, the symbol of the failed Omar Minaya-Willie Randolph era Mets. Said Cashman: "That play could turn out to be a defining moment for that team.''