Russo gets first MLB RBIs to back Vazquez, Yanks

NEW YORK -- Javier Vazquez wagged his right index finger in front of several teammates in the clubhouse after his best outing of the season.

No, he wasn't making the symbol for No. 1. Vazquez was letting the Yankees know the finger wasn't broken.

Until he bloodied and bruised the finger while bunting in the seventh inning, Vazquez dominated the Mets. He pitched one-hit ball for six innings and the Yankees took advantage of more inept Mets play to win the opener of the Subway Series 2-1 on Friday night.

"It wasn't the situation where I wanted to take him out," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He was rolling. He was outstanding."

Skipped twice in the rotation this month and making his first start in nine days, Vazquez (3-4) didn't allow a hit until Angel Pagan looped a single to center with one out in the fifth inning, helping the Yankees snap a three-game skid. But he left after he was hit on the finger fouling off a sacrifice attempt in the two-run seventh -- he then was successful.

Vazquez and Girardi both think the right-hander will make his next start.

"I feel so embarrassed because I've been doing this for a lot of years in the National League and this has never happened to me," Vazquez said. I'm going to throw in between. ... It feels like the ball hit me but I don't feel bad like is achy or anything like that."

Kevin Russo, born on Long Island and a Yankees fan, got his first two hits and first two big league RBIs and Mariano Rivera struggled to earn his first save after two subpar outings, helping the makeshift Yankees winners in all four games at Citi Field after sweeping the first series here last year.

Rivera gave up consecutive two-out doubles to Jason Bay and Ike Davis in the ninth inning, bringing a record Citi Field crowd of 41,382 to life before getting David Wright on a grounder to second for his eighth save in nine chances.

"Missed location," Griardi on why Rivera has given up runs in each of his last three outings.

With both teams struggling -- the Yankees because of injuries to several key players, and the Mets because of an anemic offense and a rotation in disarray -- Vazquez and spot starter Hisanori Takahashi engaged in a fantastic pitchers' duel for six innings.

Afterward Manuel said Takahashi earned a place in the Mets rotation.

But once manager Jerry Manuel pulled Takahashi and his array of befuddling pitches and a high-kick hesitation delivery that fooled the Yankees, the Mets reverted to the form that has led them to 10 losses in the last 13 games and last place in the NL East.

"We flinched, made one mistake and it cost us two runs," Manuel said.

Returning from a 2-6 road trip in which they lost games on a wild pitch and a bad throw, second baseman Alex Cora made a throwing error with one out in the seventh that led to two runs off Elmer Dessens (0-1), called up from Triple-A Buffalo earlier in the day when John Maine was put on the disabled list with right shoulder weakness.

Manuel said he called on Dessens because Raul Valdes, who entered after Maine faced just one batter Thursday, and Jenrry Mejia were not available.

Befuddling the Yankees with several poor April starts, Vazquez was skipped twice, the second coming after his solid seven-inning outing against Detroit on May 12. But he got one out for the win Monday against Boston in a relief appearance, and was dominant Friday.

Facing a National League team for the first time since he went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA for Atlanta last year, Vazquez appears back on track. He struck out six, walked two and even had two deft sacrifice bunts.

Joba Chamberlain, who gave up seven runs in his last two outings, got five outs before giving way to Rivera who gave up a grand slam Sunday in a blown save, then got the loss against Boston on Tuesday.

Three relievers overcame Francisco Cervelli's throwing error in the bottom of the seventh, with Chamberlain recovering from a horrendous outing Tuesday against Boston to strike out Wright and Pagan to end the threat. He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth.

The 35-year-old Takahashi made his major league first start in place of injured Jonathon Niese, out with a right hamstring strain. He made 15 relief appearances -- none longer than 3 1/3 innings -- in his first major league season after signing out of Japan.

Manuel pulled Takahashi for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning after throwing 101 pitches.

"I did very well because I threw more than 100 pitches without any runs in six innings," Takahashi said through a translator. "I did everything I could do."

Game notes
Yanks CF Curtis Granderson (strained left groin) will start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. ... Mets 1B Daniel Murphy (sprained right knee) went 2 for 3 with a homer in his first rehab start for St. Lucie.