The two-time Cy Young Award winner pitched efficiently into the eighth inning, and the New York Mets got home runs from Jose Reyes and David Wright to top the Yankees 7-4 Saturday in the opener of a rain-shortened Subway Series.
"I think we showed today how to play as a team," Santana said.
Billy Wagner got four outs for his ninth save in nine chances -- one day after castigated manager Willie Randolph held a closed-door meeting in response to remarks by the closer that some perceived as critical of his teammates.
After clearing the air, the Mets clocked reliever Kyle Farnsworth. They got key throws from outfielders Ryan Church and Carlos Beltran, beating Andy Pettitte after Friday night's scheduled game was rained out.
"You couldn't draw it up any better for all the negativity that's been going on," Wright said.
Santana (5-2) served up three more homers but lasted 7 2/3 innings, his longest outing this year.
"I had a lot of fun," he said. "I'm very happy where I am right now."
The Yankees initially pursued the left-hander in the offseason, then decided to keep their top young pitchers rather than trade them to Minnesota. Santana was dealt to the Mets for four prospects instead, and the Yankees have yet to get a win from youngsters Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy this season.
"I wasn't trying to show anything. I'm just trying to do my job," Santana said.
Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu homered, but little else went right for the Yankees (20-23) as they fell a season-worst three games under .500. Jeter even lost a popup in the sun, soon after he was thrown out by Beltran trying to stretch a single.
"We hit the three home runs, that was about it. We need to get some things going," Jeter said. "You don't get too many opportunities against him."
Santana recovered from a shaky start, snaring Giambi's leadoff liner in the fourth with whip-quick reflexes. He won his fourth straight decision and improved to 4-0 with a 2.98 ERA against the Yankees in the regular season.
"You bring him here to pitch this kind of game," Randolph said. "He's my stopper."
Pettitte (3-5) allowed three runs in six innings, falling to 0-4 in his last five starts -- his longest skid since May 2003. It was his first loss to the Mets at Yankee Stadium since June 16, 1997.
The Yankees put two on in the ninth, but Wagner set down the next three hitters. He hasn't allowed an earned run in 17 innings this year, and he tied Jeff Reardon for sixth on the career list with 367 saves.
"It was good for me to pitch. It was good to right the ship," Wagner said. "I never said I'm above the team. We all get frustrated."
The Yankees had a great chance to expand their 2-0 lead in the third, but ran themselves out of a potential big inning. Johnny Damon hit a leadoff single and was curiously waved around third base by coach Bobby Meacham when Abreu followed with a double to right-center.
"Once it was in the gap, my mind was already made up," Meacham said. "We've been telling these guys we wanted to be more aggressive. We were already up and I thought we had a chance to add another, but they made the play."
Santana escaped unscathed, retiring his next nine batters on 17 pitches, and the Mets fought back in the fourth when Pettitte walked two.
Consecutive singles by Church, Wright and Beltran made it 2-1. With two outs, Schneider drew a bases-loaded walk and Castillo dribbled an RBI infield single up the third-base line to put the Mets ahead.
Reyes homered leading off the seventh against Farnsworth and clapped his hands emphatically as he rounded first. After Church walked, Wright hit an opposite-field shot that made it 6-2.
Both homers came on 2-2 pitches, and Farnsworth was booed by Yankees fans in the crowd of 55,093. He has allowed six home runs in 20 innings this year.
"They hit two good pitches," Farnsworth said. "I'm not going to change what I've been doing and I've been successful with, but they got me today."
Giambi connected leading off the seventh and Abreu added a solo shot in the eighth. Santana has allowed 11 homers in nine starts for the Mets after giving up an AL-high 33 with Minnesota last year.
- Giambi became the first player to homer on an 0-2 pitch from Santana since Kansas City's Matt Diaz on Sept. 27, 2005, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
- In the NL for the first time, Santana ran his interleague record to 17-4.
- Jeter is hitting .386 against the Mets in his career, the highest mark of any Mets opponent.
- Mets LF Moises Alou, 41, played his first career game at Yankee Stadium.