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Must C Clutch: Martin delivers a walk-off blast

As the Yankees cross town for the second installment of the 2012 Subway Series in New York, the Mets will be looking to prevent the Bronx Bombers from finishing this stretch of Interleague Play the same way it started -- with the Yankees sweeping the Mets in three weekend games.

The last time the two intracity rivals met -- June 8-10 -- the Yankees outscored the Mets, 18-7, to kick off a 15-game stretch of games against the National League. The Yankees are 10-2 so far in those contests, and have now won 18 of their last 23 Interleague games dating back to last season.

Meanwhile, the Mets are out to defend their home turf. Entering the series finale against Baltimore on Wednesday night, the Mets are 21-15 at Citi Field after winning just 34 games at home in all of 2011.

"Citi Field's going to be rocking this weekend," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "A very good atmosphere, very good team."

The Mets will also be looking to extend a stretch of dominant pitching, as the staff gave up only three runs in the sweep of Baltimore. Before Wilson Betemit's two-run home run in the eighth inning Wednesday, Mets pitchers had thrown 29 consecutive shutout frames, the longest streak in the Majors this season.

Andy Pettitte will kick off the second installment of this year's Subway Series for the Yankees, toeing the rubber against the Mets' Jon Niese. Pettitte, 40, has thus far been fantastic in his 2012 comeback, posting an ERA of 2.77 through seven starts and going at least six innings in each outing.

It's a trend that's resonated throughout the entire Yankees' rotation of late. The team's starters had gone at least six frames in 19 straight games -- the longest such stretch in the Majors this season -- before the string was snapped Wednesday when Phil Hughes lasted just 4 1/3 against the Braves.

"Very impressive," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of his rotation's run. "A lot of those have been in National League cities, where you probably have to have a lead and be pitching well [to stay in the game, rather than use a pinch-hitter], so it's impressive."

Niese will try to do the same Friday, after he recorded his second-highest pitch output of the season in his last outing. The southpaw had gone 13 innings without allowing an earned run in June before he surrendered four in six innings in a losing effort against the Reds on Saturday.

He got himself into a 3-0 hole against Cincinnati in the first inning when he gave up a Jay Bruce three-run homer in that start.

"You make a mistake and all of a sudden, it's 3-0, but that's just the way it went," Niese said. "I had to do my best to keep the tune of the game at that point."

Yankees: Teixeira still hurting
Teixeira, who had a Jason Heyward hit strike him off the left heel and ricochet to the center of the diamond in Tuesday night's game, did not start on Wednesday, but Girardi expects to have him back full-time against the Mets.

Teixeira came in to pinch-hit in the eighth Wednesday, delivering a two-out double.

"He went through a lot of treatment today, and he said he felt OK," Girardi said after Wednesday's game. "So that's a positive."

Mets: Wright on fire
• David Wright went 3-for-4 in Wednesday's finale against the Orioles, extending his hit streak to 11 games.

Wright is hitting .366 with 6 RBIs during that span.

• Mets closer Frank Francisco added fuel to the Subay Series when he called the Yankees "chickens," according to the New York Post.

"I can't wait to face those chickens," Francisco told The Post. "I want to strike out the side against them. I've done it before."

• Jordany Valdespin made his third consecutive start on Wednesday, and he has responded to the increased playing time with a hit in each game.

Valdespin is hitting .321 with eight RBIs in his last nine contests and his speed has been a valuable asset for Mets manager Terry Collins, who has been trying to make his team more aggressive on the basepaths.

Worth noting
• The Mets are 7-5 in Interleague Play this year, and 134-123 all-time.

• The Yankees have won seven straight road games (since June 3 at Detroit), marking their longest road winning streak this season. It is also their longest since they won eight in a row from June 24-July 9, 2009. Comments