Yankees-Mets Series draws nearer

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The Independent Online

The prospect of a subway World Series - the New York Yankees versus the Mets - is coming closer all the time. First, of course, they each have to win their respective leagues.

The prospect of a subway World Series - the New York Yankees versus the Mets - is coming closer all the time. First, of course, they each have to win their respective leagues.

The Mets went a step closer inthe National League on Sunday night when their pitcher Mike Hampton, showing no ill effects from a stress fracture of one of his ribs - which gives an idea of what pitching does to the body - out-threw his Arizona counterpart Armando Reynoso as the Mets beat the Diamondbacks 2-1. The victory took them to only one game behind Atlanta - last year's World Series finalists, who lost 7-2 to St Louis on Sunday - in the NL East Division, and well ahead of Arizona in the wild card chase.

In the American League, Oakland's centre-fielder Terrence Long and their third baseman Eric Chavez made errors in the eighth inning, allowing the Yankees to rally their resources for a 7-5 victory. The Athletics committed four errors in all, giving them an embarrassing 121 this season, the most in major league.

The principal obstacles in the way of a New York match-up are the aforementioned Atlanta in the NL and Chicago White Sox in the AL. On Sunday night, Lorenzo Barcelo, the 23-year-old rookie right-hander, threw three perfect innings as the White Sox, propelled by solo home runs by Paul Konerko and Ray Durham, beat Seattle Mariners 2-1.

Barcelo, who made his major league debut on 22 July, has allowed just two earned runs in his last 10 relief outings. His Earned Run Average over that span is 1.02 and he has given just three walks in 24 1/3 innings. The two teams are both leaders of their divisions, competing for home-field advantage in the post-season, but the Chicago manager, Jerry Manuel, has no fear of turning to Barcelo.

"He comes in, throws strikes and he throws strikes with all his pitches," Manuel said. "They don't have a book on Barcelo yet, and that makes it difficult for veteran teams, veteran players, to figure him out."

Despite the defeat, the Mariners remain 2 1/2 games ahead of struggling Oakland in the AL West. Chicago are 3 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees for the best record in the American League.

Away from the diamond, 21 members of the LA Dodgers - 16 players among them - have been served with subpoenas dating back to the punch-up at Wrigley Field last May. A contingent of Dodgers went into the stands at Wrigley Field after Chicago Cubs fans had grabbed some of their colleagues.

Attorneys representing Ronald Camacho and Charles Carlin, two of the three fans charged with disorderly conduct, want the Dodgers present when their clients appear in court. Camacho, scheduled to appear in court today, has filed a lawsuit against both the Cubs and the Dodgers. Carlin is in court on 18 September. As they seek a wild card for the play-offs, the Dodgers could do without the distraction.

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