(Sports Network) - Granted he had the home crowd behind him, but Mets starter Johan Santana came out a winner the last time he squared off with CC Sabathia and the defending World Series champion Yankees.
Now Santana will toe the rubber at Yankee Stadium Sunday in the finale of a three-game interleague series against a familiar face in Sabathia. In a 6-4 win versus the Bronx Bombers at Citi Field on May 23, Santana earned the win by holding the opposition to one run and six hits in 7 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and three walks.
Santana, a left-hander, is 1-1 in four starts since then and recently defeated Cleveland on the road Tuesday at Progressive Field. In the 7-6 victory over the Indians, Santana was reached for four runs and seven hits in seven innings of work to improve to 5-3 in 14 starts with a 3.13 ERA. He hasn't been able to keep runs at a minimum, allowing four runs in each of his last two outings.
The two-time AL Cy Young recipient, who is 1-1 in seven road starts in 2010, owns a 5-2 career mark against the Yankees to go along with a 4.02 ERA in 12 lifetime appearances (9 starts).
Meanwhile, Sabathia has won his last three starts and is unbeaten in the past four trips to the mound. The bulky lefty and 2007 AL Cy Young honoree has lasted at least seven innings during his win streak and defeated Philadelphia the last time out on Tuesday in the Bronx.
Sabathia yielded three runs in seven innings with seven strikeouts in the 8-3 victory over the Phillies, improving to 7-3 in 14 starts this season. He also pushed his 2010 home record to 4-0 in six tries. In the loss to Santana and the Mets in late May, Sabathia gave up six runs -- five earned -- and 10 hits through five innings. He is 2-1 in three career starts against the Mets.
Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson belted a two-run homer during the fourth inning of Saturday's 5-3 victory over the Mets, helping the club end a three-game slide in which it scored a total of four runs.
"Just getting lucky, that's the big thing," Granderson said when asked if he had a specific mindset during the eventual game-deciding at-bat against Mets starter Mike Pelfrey. "The pitcher isn't going to hint at what's going to happen. You just need to continue to be ready to hit every time."
Mark Teixeira also belted a two-run homer and starting pitcher Phil Hughes improved to 10-1 on the season by holding the Mets to three runs in seven innings. The Yankees avenged a 4-0 loss in the series opener and ended the Mets' winning streak at eight games.
The Yankees, who are 5-3 on a nine-game homestand, are still tied with Tampa Bay atop the American League East Division. The Rays beat the Florida Marlins yesterday to keep pace.
The Mets also had a seven-game road winning streak put on hold and sit 1 1/2 games behind surging Atlanta for NL East supremacy. Pelfrey was also searching for his 10th win of the season, but dropped to 9-2 after giving up five runs and seven hits in seven innings of work.
Jose Reyes homered twice and ended with three RBI for the Mets, who entered this Subway Series fresh off back-to-back sweeps of Baltimore and Cleveland and are 7-1 on a nine-game road trip.
"It was the fastball, he's got a really good fastball," Reyes said when asked what pitches he was looking for against Hughes for his two homers. "I was just able to get out in front of that and I was able to hit the ball hard both times. That it went over the fence made it even better."
The Mets won two of three meetings with the Yankees back in May, but the defending World Series champions are 44-33 all-time in this series. The Yankees are 10-10 versus the Mets at home since 2004.
The Yankees are also 139-100 all-time in interleague play, while the Mets own a 114-108 ledger against the American League.