Takahashi shuts down Yanks as Mets win eighth straight

NEW YORK -- David Wright dived for home plate in the first inning, then pumped his fist and screamed after a crucial out in the sixth.

Make no mistake about it -- winning at Yankee Stadium is a big deal to the New York Mets.

Hisanori Takahashi outpitched Javier Vazquez in their second low-scoring duel this season and the Mets ran their winning streak to eight games with a 4-0 victory over the suddenly slumping New York Yankees on Friday night.

"I think it's great. We're showing emotion, we're playing well," Jeff Francoeur said. "Everybody's kind of firing each other up, and we're feeding off that. It's fun to come to the park when you're playing that way."

Wright scored in the first with a nifty slide and made a key defensive play at third base. Angel Pagan added a two-run double in the eighth, and the Mets opened the second Subway Series of the year with their third consecutive victory over the defending World Series champs.

Pedro Feliciano pitched out of trouble in two late innings and Francisco Rodriguez got two outs for his 16th save in 19 chances, preserving the Mets' 12th win in 13 games. The Yankees, tied with Tampa Bay atop the AL East, were shut out for the second time in their hitter-friendly ballpark, which opened last year.

"I can't say enough about our pitching. It's just been incredible," Francoeur said.

With the bases loaded in the ninth, Rodriguez struck out Derek Jeter and retired Nick Swisher on a foulout to end it.

"We have to do a better job overall. We've got to keep grinding out at-bats," Alex Rodriguez said. "I think the thing is that when teams go into slumps, everybody starts trying a little too hard, trying to do too much. As soon as we start thinking small, we'll be fine."

The Mets, who trail first-place Atlanta by a half-game in the NL East, improved to 13-2 in June and matched their longest winning streak of the season. They also won eight straight from April 22 to 30.

Perhaps most surprising, this latest surge has come away from cavernous Citi Field. The Mets were 8-18 on the road before opening 7-0 on this nine-game trip for their longest road winning streak since they won a club-record nine in a row in June 2006.

"We believe in each other," Jose Reyes said. "It's been a fun ride. Hopefully, it can continue."

The Mets also are 9-1 against AL teams this year, giving them the most interleague wins in the majors. Overall they are 19-5 since May 22 -- the best record in baseball during that stretch.

Takahashi (6-2) is a big reason why. Promoted from long relief to help an injury-depleted rotation, the 35-year-old rookie from Japan is 3-1 in six starts.

"He really made some adjustments," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "To watch him manage that lineup for six innings was impressive. You never got the feeling that he was going to flinch. He stayed within the moment and pitched extremely well."

Painting corners and keeping the Yankees off balance with an effective changeup, Takahashi yielded four hits in six innings. The left-hander escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth when Wright barehanded Jorge Posada's chopper and threw him out at first, prompting several fired-up Mets -- including Wright and Takahashi -- to pump their fists and shout with joy.

"It's amazing," Feliciano said. "To beat the Yankees, that's big for us."

The Yankees got leadoff hits in the seventh and eighth but couldn't score against Feliciano. After roughing up Roy Halladay on Tuesday night, the Bronx Bombers have four runs in three straight home losses to Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick, and now Takahashi.

"You're going to go through this, and you can't jump off the bridge every time you don't score runs for a couple of days," manager Joe Girardi said.

It was the second time the Yankees struggled against Takahashi, who threw six shutout innings against them in his first major league start May 21 at Citi Field. He got no decision in that game, which Vazquez won 2-1.

Vazquez (6-6) was nearly as good this time, allowing one run and three hits in seven innings. Still, his three-start winning streak was snapped.

Pagan fisted a two-run double over a drawn-in infield against Chan Ho Park in the eighth. Reyes added an RBI single in the ninth off Boone Logan.

Wright doubled with two outs in the first and scored on Ike Davis' single. Swisher's strong throw from right field beat Wright home, but he made a headfirst dive to avoid a tag from catcher Francisco Cervelli and barely got a piece of the plate with his finger.

Game notes
Mets LF Jason Bay was back in the lineup after sitting out Thursday night at Cleveland with a bruised left thigh. … Mets RHP John Maine (sore shoulder) threw 88 pitches in his second rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo, allowing one hit and an unearned run over 4 1/3 innings. The club was planning to have Maine make another rehab start before rejoining the rotation. … Rodriguez was back at third base for the first time since leaving a game last week with tightness in his groin. The slugger started at DH the previous two nights for the Yankees.