Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yankees Get Big Moose Lift

The play button was never pushed on Michael Clayton tonight. That's because Mike Mussina gave the Yankees everything they needed. A 7-inning, 2-run, 4-hit, 101 pitch effort to lead the Yankees to a 6-4 victory over the White Sox. It wasn't without a scare though as the White Sox rallied against LaTroy Hawkins in the 8th inning, forcing Joe Girardi to bring in Mariano Rivera in for a 5-out save.

After wasting some early opportunities against White Sox starter Javier Vazquez (3-2), the Yankees finally got some clutch hits tonight too. Jorge Posada, who had 4 hits, and Johnny Damon each came up big with 2-run doubles as the Yankees built up a 6-1 lead.

This night belonged to Mussina though. Much maligned by many, including us, Mussina worked his magic on a good hitting White Sox club. He gave up solo home runs to Joe Crede in the 5th and Carlos Quentin in the 7th, but only allowed two other hits. 66 of Mussina's 101 pitches were strikes, and he issued just one walk while striking out three.

Leading 1-0 in the 5th, the Yankees put two runners aboard on singles by Damon and Hideki Matsui with 2 outs against Vazquez. Posada followed Matsui's base hit with a drive to left-center that fell just out of the reach of a diving Nick Swisher to score both runners. It was the first of Posada's three doubles on the night.

Crede got one of the runs back with his 6th home run of the year, but the Yankees drove their former pitcher from the game in the 6th.

Jason Giambi singled and one out later Melky Cabrera doubled. Damon hit a gapper to left-center for a 2-run double and a 5-1 Yankees lead. Derek Jeter in turn plated Damon with a single to center to extend the score to 6-1.

Mussina (2-3) retired the first two batters before allowing Quentin's home run in the 7th. That's when some comic relief took place. Girardi came out to the mound to speak with Mussina and Posada, and began to signal for a right-hander from the pen. But Posada verbally stopped him in his tracks and Girardi quickly retracted his signal. Apparently Posada had orginally uttered the wrong words when asked how Moose was doing. Mussina then retired Crede on a liner to right to end the inning and begin much discussion and laughter in the dugout.

Girardi went to Hawkins to start the 8th, and the free agent signee once again did not live up to his contract. Swisher drew a 1-out walk and Orlando Cabrera followed with a single. That brought slugger Jim Thome to the plate and Girardi back to the mound to call on lefty specialist Billy Traber. It was here that Girardi's decision to keep Giambi at 1st Base late in games came back to haunt him.

Traber did his job getting Thome to bounce one to the right side, but Giambi, less nimble than the Statue of Liberty, fell dove and couldn't come up with it. The run scoring single brought the tying run to the plate and Girardi hurriedly back to the mound to call on his hall of fame closer.

Rivera got a pitch in on the hands enough to Paul Konerko, who flied to deep to right-center for a sac fly and an RBI, cutting the lead to 6-4. Rivera then retired Jermaine Dye on a pop up to Jeter and retired the side in order in the 9th for his 6th save in as many chances.

Damon, LF5222013.253
Jeter, SS5011001.277
Abreu, RF5000022.293
Matsui, DH4110111.324
Posada, C5042001.304
Cano, 2B4100115.165
Giambi, 1B2110300.135
Ensberg, 3B5010025.308
Cabrera, CF4121012.292

2B: Posada 3 (6, Vazquez, Masset, Jenks), Cabrera (2, Vazquez), Damon (6, Vazquez).
TB: Damon 3; Jeter; Matsui; Posada 7; Giambi; Ensberg; Cabrera 3.
RBI: Cabrera (8), Posada 2 (8), Damon 2 (12), Jeter (12).
2-out RBI: Cabrera; Posada 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Damon 2; Cano 2; Cabrera; Ensberg 2.
GIDP: Posada.
Team LOB: 11.

SB: Giambi (1, 2nd base off Jenks/Pierzynski).

Mussina (W, 2-3)7.04221324.94
Hawkins 0.112210011.17
Traber 0.01000003.86
Rivera (S, 6)1.20000000.00

Swisher, CF3100110.231
Cabrera, SS4120010.263
Thome, DH4021001.232
Konerko, 1B3001001.185
Dye, RF4000001.315
Pierzynski, C4000000.323
Quentin, LF3111100.246
Crede, 3B4111001.296
Uribe, 2B2000010.167
a-Ramirez, PH-2B1000000.143

a-Grounded out for Uribe in the 8th.

HR: Crede (6, 5th inning off Mussina, 0 on, 1 out), Quentin (5, 7th inning off Mussina, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Cabrera 2; Thome 2; Quentin 4; Crede 4.
RBI: Crede (20), Quentin (16), Thome (17), Konerko (15).
2-out RBI: Quentin.
SF: Konerko.
Team LOB: 4.

E: Cabrera (1, fielding).
DP: (Cabrera-Konerko).

Vazquez (L, 3-2)5.110663304.40
Logan 0.20000103.68
Masset 2.01001303.75
Jenks 1.01001102.00

Traber pitched to 1 batter in the 8th.

IBB: Giambi (by Masset), Giambi (by Jenks).
Pitches-strikes: Mussina 101-66, Hawkins 12-6, Traber 1-1, Rivera 17-13, Vazquez 104-69, Logan 7-6, Masset 35-20, Jenks 22-12.
Ground outs-fly outs: Mussina 8-10, Hawkins 1-0, Traber 0-0, Rivera 2-3, Vazquez 4-9, Logan 0-1, Masset 2-1, Jenks 2-0.
Batters faced: Mussina 26, Hawkins 3, Traber 1, Rivera 5, Vazquez 29, Logan 2, Masset 8, Jenks 5.
Inherited runners-scored: Traber 2-1, Rivera 2-1, Logan 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Bill Miller. 1B: Paul Emmel. 2B: Gary Darling. 3B: Jerry Meals.
Weather: 64 degrees, clear.
Wind: 13 mph, L to R.
T: 3:06.
Att: 27,751.

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