Yankees, Mets commence Subway Series

The 2013 edition of the Subway Series gets underway on Monday when the New York Yankees head to Citi Field for the first two games of a home-and-home series against the Mets.

The final two games will be contested at Yankee Stadium.

"I think it's exciting for the fans. I think it's exciting for the players. I think it's a great atmosphere," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "So, yeah, I'm excited for it."

Girardi's club has dominated this series of late, winning 11 of the previous 14 matchups.

The Yankees, who hold a percentage points lead at the top of the American League East, head into this matchup stumbling a bit with losses in three of the last five games, following an 8-3 setback to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

CC Sabathia (4-4), winless in his last five starts, was tagged for a season- high seven runs on seven hits over seven frames.

"I'm hurting the team," Sabathia said. "I'm not helping the team out. I just need to get better."

Getting the call for the Yanks on Monday will be righty Phil Hughes, who is 2-3 with a 5.51 ERA. Hughes did not get a decision against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, but allowed just two runs - both solo home runs - and five hits in six innings of a 3-2 loss.

Hughes is 2-1 in five games (3 starts) versus the Mets with a 3.80 ERA.

The Mets, meanwhile, come into this set on the heels of a rare win, as they scored three times in the eighth inning on Sunday to beat the Atlanta Braves, 4-2.

Ike Davis' two-run single in the pivotal frame was the big blow, as the Mets won for the first time in six games. Davis, of course, entered the contest with just two hits over his last 44 at-bats, but had two hits in the win.

"They wanted me to have fun again. Smile more, laugh on the field," Davis said. "And I am now 1-for-1 with the new approach."

Heading to the hill for the Mets on Monday will be righty Jonathon Niese, who has lost five of his last six decisions. Niese lost to the Cincinnati Reds his last time out, as he allowed three unearned runs in six innings of a 4-0 loss.

Niese has faced the Yankees three times and is 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA.

The Yankees took five of six from the Mets last season.