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Yankees rookie Russo hits 2-run double to beat Mets

MAY 21, 2010: YANKEES 2, METS 1 at

MAY 21, 2010: YANKEES 2, METS 1
at Citi Field
West Babylon native Kevin Russo delivered the key hit for the Yankees, a two-run single in the seventh inning that provided the game-winning runs. The RBIs were the first of Russo's career. Earlier in the game, he notched his first big-league hit. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

The first game of the 14th season of the Subway Series produced a familiar result Friday night at Citi Field. The Yankees beat the Mets, 2-1, and lead the regular-season series 43-30.

The route the Yankees took to victory was not familiar. It wasn't Jeter or A-Rod who beat the Mets. It was Kevin Russo.

Russo, a 25-year-old who was born in West Babylon and went to high school in Boulder, Colo., ripped a two-run double down the rightfield line off reliever Elmer Dessens to snap a scoreless tie in the seventh inning.

"It's exciting," Russo said. "Subway Series. Big series. It was exciting and fun."

Russo, an infielder who only recently began playing the outfield in Triple-A, was called up Thursday and got a surprise start in left. He picked up his first major-league hit with a single in the third inning.

Russo's two-run double came after second baseman Alex Cora made a crucial throwing error. "The first hit was great," he said. "My first major-league hit. My second hit turned out to be a bigger hit. So they were both great."

Russo's family moved to Colorado when he was 3, but he grew up a Yankees fan and still has relatives on Long Island. His brother Ryan and 8-year-old niece Deandra flew in from Denver and attended Friday's game; his mother and a cousin were at Thursday's game against Tampa Bay at Yankee Stadium.

Russo played four games in a previous stint with the Yankees from May 8-13, going 0-for-2.

The score was tied entering the seventh because Hisanori Takahashi and Javier Vazquez each threw six scoreless innings. Takahashi left after 101 pitches; Vazquez left with a bruised right index finger suffered while bunting. X-rays were negative and Vazquez said he hopes to make his next start.

Jerry Manuel, his bullpen tapped out by John Maine's five-pitch start Thursday, called on Dessens to start the seventh. He was called up from Triple-A Buffalo before the game as Maine went on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder weakness.

Nick Swisher singled before Francisco Cervelli hit a slow bouncer to second. Cora fielded it and threw in an attempt to get the force. The throw was so far to the rightfield side of second that Jose Reyes didn't try to catch it. Swisher took third and Cervelli second to set up Russo.

Attendance was announced as 41,382, which the Mets called a sellout and the largest crowd in Citi Field history. That seemed odd, given that the team said earlier in the week that ticket sales were so slow that it chose to give some away. The stands were about 70 percent full at game time and some sections were not filled in the later innings.

Takahashi allowed five hits and one walk and struck out five in his first major-league start. Vazquez, the twice-skipped righthander with the 8.01 ERA, allowed only a single by Angel Pagan with one out in the fifth.

The Mets scored with two outs in the ninth when Jason Bay and Ike Davis doubled off Mariano Rivera. But Rivera got Wright on a first-pitch grounder to second for his eighth save.

The Yankees snapped a three-game losing streak. The Mets have lost eight of their last 10.

New York Sports