Martin said he couldn't come up with a better script for himself than the arcing blast to left field off losing pitcher Jon Rauch, stamping an exclamation point on a wild contest that had the Mets in the driver's seat for most of the afternoon.
"It's got to come from different places every day, and Russell, you look at his last three weeks, he's been swinging the bat really well -- the way he's capable of doing it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Martin played the hero after Rafael Soriano blew his first save in 10 chances this year, as Lucas Duda and Ike Davis connected for back-to-back doubles opening the top half of the ninth. Soriano was lifted in mid-inning and heard boos from a sellout crowd of 49,010.
"I tried to pitch the best that I can, and that happens," Soriano said. "I don't think I had a good fastball today. No excuses."
The Mets' rally could have been more damaging if not for an alert play by Jayson Nix, filling in at shortstop with Derek Jeter taking a half-day off at designated hitter. Not an experienced shortstop, Nix looked the part, whipping a throw to third base on Omar Quintanilla's grounder to cut down Davis for the first out.
"I could kind of feel [Davis] going to third as I was going to it," Nix said. "I was kind of going in, so it happened pretty quick, but we got him."
Trailing by three runs in the seventh, Martin took advantage of a David Wright throwing error that prolonged the inning for Mets starter Jonathon Niese, slugging a two-run shot that struck the top of the wall and bounced into the seats after zipping past the glove of right fielder Scott Hairston.
"I thought he caught the ball, at first," Martin said. "For a split second, I thought I was out. The next thing you know, I'm rounding the bases. Rounding the bases is a lot better than taking a right turn back to the dugout."
Martin's first homer of the contest was the only dent -- both runs unearned -- in seven frames against Niese. The Yankees took their first lead of the afternoon in the eighth, scoring twice on an ineffective Bobby Parnell.
"Everybody goes through a bad stretch, and this is ours," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "It didn't matter what move we made. It didn't work."
The eighth inning started with a slow Jeter roller that scooted under Quintanilla's glove at shortstop, and Jeter alertly raced for second base on the error.
"I knew I was taking a chance," Jeter said. "I saw it took sort of a funny hop on him, and took a chance."
After a hit, Mark Teixeira cashed the tying run with a single, and Alex Rodriguez put the Yankees on top with a broken-bat bloop single to right field, his 1,918th career RBI to pass Eddie Murray on the all-time list.
"I actually talked to [hitting coach Kevin] Long about that," Girardi said. "I said, 'Why don't we get a hit like that, a little blooper, maybe it'll open things up for us?' Sure enough, it happened."
Andy Pettitte started for the Yankees and accepted a no-decision, touched only by a three-run Mets second inning in which one of the runs was unearned, but the Yankees had concern when Pettitte was struck on his pitching hand in the sixth.
Pettitte snagged Hairston's chopper to the mound, tossing to first base for the out, and stayed in the game after being examined on the mound by Girardi and assistant trainer Mark Littlefield.
"It hurt immediately," Pettitte said. "I was like, 'Oh, no,' right when it hit my hand. I probably shouldn't have done that."
Pettitte gutted through the next two outs and left Yankee Stadium with a wrap on his left hand, but said his X-rays were clean -- showing just a bruise -- and that he expects to make his next start.
The Yankees considered themselves perhaps most fortunate that Pettitte was healthy, but as Martin could attest, a few well-timed moments offered plenty of reasons to be pleased.
"It's a long season," Martin said. "Sometimes you get some plays to go your way, sometimes you won't. Today, the play by [Nix] helped us out, and [Rodriguez] chipped one in there behind first base. You need those to go your way sometimes. Today they did. It worked out for us."