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Yankees alone atop AL East ; Sabathia, Teixeira lead 4-0 win over Mets

After the book closed Sunday on the 14th regular-season edition of the Subway Series, the Yankees and Mets went their separate ways. They will not meet again until next May -- unless they play in a real Subway Series in late October.

"Maybe," Alex Rodriguez said when asked about the possibility. "Maybe."

The Yankees' 4-0 victory Sunday at Yankee Stadium -- fueled by Mark Teixeira's third-inning grand slam off Johan Santana and CC Sabathia's eight shutout innings -- evened the season series at 3-3.

It's the sixth time since the series was expanded to a home-and-home in 1999 that the teams left bragging rights to be decided some other way.

"They played us extremely tough in six games," manager Joe Girardi said after the Yankees (43-26) moved into sole possession of first place in the AL East for the first time since April 21. "So there are no bragging rights until, obviously, next year. Unless we are both fortunate enough to see each other a little bit later."

Sabathia (8-3, 3.68 ERA) was brilliant, allowing four hits and two walks with six strikeouts in eight innings.

Teixeira, who toted a .224 average into the game, sent a 1-1 pitch from Santana over the auxiliary scoreboard in left-center for the only runs. It was Teixeira's fifth career grand slam -- his last was Aug. 3, 2008 at Yankee Stadium as a member of the Angels -- and was the Yankees' big league-leading seventh.

Santana (5-4, 3.31) has given up three grand slams this year after allowing two in his previous 10 seasons.

Almost as painful as the slam was the way the Yankees loaded the bases. After a single to left by Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter reached on a slow roller to third base; whatever chance David Wright had to get Jeter disappeared when he threw wildly to first.

Nick Swisher followed with a push bunt past Santana that Ike Davis fielded and backhand flipped to first. Santana tried to catch the toss on the move, but second baseman Ruben Tejada arrived at the same time and banged into Santana, causing the ball to drop to the dirt and Swisher to get a gift hit.

The Mets (39-30), meanwhile, had few opportunities against Sabathia, who never wilted despite a game-time temperature of 86 degrees and humidity that didn't clear until a 22-minute rain delay before the bottom of the eighth inning.

Their best chance came in the seventh. Davis singled and Jason Bay walked to start the inning. Rod Barajas took a called third strike and protested that the pitch was inside -- which it might have been -- to bring Fernando Tatis to the plate.

Tatis was Manuel's choice to start at designated hitter. The way Tatis has been going, Lady Gaga might have been a better selection, but Manuel had no other righthanded hitters available other than backup catcher Henry Blanco.

Tatis hasn't had a hit since May 23, the final game of the first go-round against the Yankees. Since then, he is 0 for 14 with six strikeouts, including Sunday's inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

After the rain delay, Mariano Rivera was warming up to close out the victory in a half-filled stadium, which he did in a 1-2-3 ninth. Then the Yankees readied for a flight to Phoenix to play the Diamondbacks starting Monday night while the Mets boarded a bus back to Queens before getting a day off and a series against the Tigers starting Tuesday.

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