New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) connects for...

New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) connects for an RBI single in the bottom of the third inning against the New York Yankees. (May 22, 2010) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

The Yankees have the better record, higher payroll and greater star power, but for one night, the Mets had what mattered most: the clutch hits.

The Mets came up with five two-out RBI hits - including two each by David Wright and Angel Pagan - en route to a 5-3 victory over the Yankees last night, a victory they definitely needed.

With Jerry Manuel's job status riding on the Mets' performance these days, they came through in tight spots against the Yankees and looked nothing like the team that lost 10 of their previous 13 games, including a 2-1 loss to the Yankees on Friday night.

Jason Bay went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and Mike Pelfrey allowed one run in six innings, but the Mets' success in the clutch was why they notched their first victory over the Yankees at Citi Field in five tries. The Mets went 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position compared to the Yankees' 3-for-14.

Down 5-1 entering the eighth, the Yankees threatened by loading the bases with none out but managed only two runs to cut their deficit in half. After Juan Miranda struck out, Fernando Nieve walked Kevin Russo to force in a run, at which point Manuel called for Francisco Rodriguez to face Derek Jeter - and almost got out of it right there.

Jeter grounded to Wright in what had a chance to be an inning-ending double play, but Wright appeared to have difficulty getting a grip on the ball and got only a force at second, allowing another run to score. But Rodriguez got Brett Gardner to ground to third.

Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher singled off K-Rod in the ninth, but Francisco Cervelli struck out swinging to end the game as the Yankees stranded two runners for the third straight inning. They left 13 runners on base.

One of the best features of these Subway Series games is the crowd noise. There is cheering and booing, sometimes even at the same time.

When Wright stepped to the plate with two on and two outs in the bottom of the first, he heard the requisite boos from Yankees fans. But what would happen if Wright failed in the clutch, as he did to end the Mets' 2-1 loss Friday night? Would Mets fans boo him, too?

Wright, however, never gave them the chance, lining a 2-and-2 fastball from Phil Hughes into centerfield for a single for a 1-0 lead. Pagan followed with a broken-bat single to leftfield to make it 2-0.

Two innings later, Wright came up in the same situation - two on and two outs - and again came through. This time he grounded a single to centerfield for a 3-0 lead.

The Mets' fourth run also came on a two-out hit, a single to right by pinch hitter Alex Cora in the sixth that knocked Hughes out of the game.

Hughes had a frustrating game in that all that stood between him and a solid outing was those four two-out RBI singles. He had strong stuff, recording seven strikeouts in 52/3 innings, but his failure to close those innings was the reason why he left trailing 4-1. And when Pagan added a two-out RBI double off Chan Ho Park in the seventh, it was 5-1.

Pelfrey breezed his first five innings, allowing no runs and only two Yankees to get into scoring position. The righthander quickly recorded the first two outs of the sixth inning, too, before the Yankees cut their deficit to 3-1.

Robinson Cano singled to centerfield and Swisher lined a double to rightfield, putting two runners in scoring position for Cervelli, who has quickly earned a reputation for being a clutch hitter. And, statistically speaking, he added to that clutch resume here. Cervelli hit a grounder back to the mound that Pelfrey had a chance to field but couldn't. The ball ricocheted off his glove for a run.

It was ruled a hit, which means Cervelli improved to 12-for-21 (.571) with men in scoring position, including 7-for-10 (.700) when there are two outs.

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