Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 6/27)

Game 1: Friday, June 25
NY MetsPostponed
NY Yankees
Game 1: Saturday, June 26
NY Mets9Final
NY Yankees3
Game 2: Sunday, June 27
NY Mets1Final
NY Yankees8
Game 3: Sunday, June 27
NY Mets6Final
NY Yankees11

Mets 1

(36-37, 15-21 away)

Yankees 8

(46-26, 24-10 home)

1:05 PM ET, June 27, 2004

Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

123456789 R H E
NYM 000000100 1 3 0
NYY 21100004 - 8 8 1

W: J. Contreras (5-3)

L: S. Trachsel (7-6)

S: T. Gordon (2)

Contreras strikes out career-high 10 in win

NEW YORK (AP) -- The hugs and kisses said it all for Jose Contreras.

With his family looking on, he became the dominating pitcher the New York Yankees expected all along.

Jose Contreras
Contreras

Making his first start since his wife and children defected from Cuba last week, Contreras struck out a career-high 10 in six shutout innings, beating the New York Mets 8-1 Sunday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.

"I thought my dad was going to win," said 11-year-old Naylan Contreras, watching her father pitch in the major leagues for the first time.

At a tender postgame news conference, Contreras was accompanied by wife Miriam and their two daughters. While Naylan sat on her mother's lap, the pitcher sat next to them holding 3-year-old Naylenis, repeatedly kissing her head and squeezing her after she nodded off and fell asleep.

He dedicated his win to his family and to "the people of Cuba who support me."

"During the game, I didn't think about my family," he said through a translator. "I concentrated on getting one out after another. I knew after the game my family would be here."

And that presence, he said, "gave me more motivation."

A day after the Mets tripped up their wealthy crosstown neighbors 9-3 in the opener of this year's Subway Series, Contreras restored the usual order, stifling the Mets on two hits until cramps in his forearm and thumb forced him out three pitches into the seventh.

He frustrated the Mets so much that Ty Wigginton broke his own bat in half after he struck out in the third inning, then flung the two pieces.

Derek Jeter, who turned 30 a day earlier, backed Contreras with a pair of solo homers against Steve Trachsel (7-6), and Gary Sheffield homered for the second straight day. Hideki Matsui added an eighth-inning grand slam on the first pitch after former Yankee Mike Stanton entered.

Signed to a $32 million, four-year contract after defecting from Cuba in October 2002, Contreras (5-3) has showed flashes of brilliance with the Yankees but has been maddeningly inconsistent. The Yankees even sent him to the minor leagues for two starts last month.

He often talked of how much he missed his family, and Yankees manager Joe Torre said that his family situation might have contributed to his trouble adjusting.

Contreras' family left Cuba on a 31-foot boat last Sunday night and were captured by U.S. Border Patrol agents on Big Pine Key, Fla., the following morning. Contreras was reunited with them Tuesday night in Miami Beach, and they looked on from a mezzanine luxury suite on a sunny summer afternoon. His oldest daughter ate cotton candy.

"It tasted great," she said, also through a translator.

He allowed a single to Jose Reyes, his first batter, who promptly was caught stealing by catcher John Flaherty. Contreras then retired 10 in a row -- including four straight on strikeouts -- until center fielder Kenny Lofton dropped Kaz Matsui's easy fly in the fourth.

After a walk to Mike Piazza, Contreras threw a called third strike past Cliff Floyd, who disagreed with plate umpire Brian Runge's generous strike zone, then got Richard Hidalgo swinging.

Mike Cameron got the Mets' second hit, a leadoff single in the fifth, but he, too, was thrown out at second by Flaherty. Contreras then walked the bases loaded -- the four walks tied his career high -- but he got out of trouble when Matsui flied softly to left on a 3-2 pitch.

"I was very tense," Miriam Contreras said. "As the game progressed and Jose was striking batters out, I was able to relax a little bit."

After Contreras left, Todd Zeile hit an RBI grounder off Paul Quantrill. Tom Gordon completed the three-hitter, striking out four of six batters.

Contreras said the cramp was not serious and came from throwing forkballs. He hadn't pitched for a week.

"This was a test today that he passed with flying colors," Torre said.

Contreras felt all his pitches were working. Still, he struggled somewhat when pitching from the stretch.

"When he gets in trouble, he gets a little tight, starts to throw the ball erratic," said Floyd, who struck out twice against Contreras. "When you get him on the ropes, you have to make him throw strikes and beat you."

Jeter, who went 3-for-4 with the fourth multihomer game of his career, wasn't concerned at all with Contreras' results.

"To be honest with you, I don't care how he pitched," Jeter said. "I'm just happy for him. He's got a big smile on his face."

Game notes


Yankees 1B Jason Giambi, in 1-for-14 slide, has a viral illness and went to a hospital during the opener to receive fluids, then returned to the ballpark. ... Matsui hit a slam off Jeremy Griffiths last year in the opener of a day-night doubleheader against the Mets.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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