Thursday, August 7, 2008

Moose Plays the Hero

Mike Mussina continued to save the Yankees season tonight with another superb performance in defeating the Texas Rangers 3-0. Mussina won his 265th career game and 15th of this season in a "now you hit me, now you don't" evening. He scattered 8 hits over 7 innings, allowing a base runner in every inning but his last. He used a pair of double plays and his own good defense to help thwart a number of Texas rallies, before turning things over to the bullpen- which dominated the final two innings.

Meanwhile, the Yankees couldn't muster offense against rookie Scott Feldman, who defeated the Bomberless Bombers back on June 30 at Yankee Stadium. Derek Jeter hit his first home run since July 21 to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

After putting two men aboard in the 2nd, Robinson Cano , who would have three hits, bounced into a rally-killing double play. An Alex Rodriguez twin killing negated a Bobby Abreu single in the fourth, as A-Rod remained hitless for Texas.

But Mussina was getting double play grounders as well. Frank Catalanotto reached on a one out single in the first inning, but Mussina got Michael Young to hit a comebacker that started a 1-6-3 DP. In the second inning, a Marlon Byrd double and a single by Brandon Boggs put runners on the corner with one out, but Gerald Laird grounded to Jeter for the start of another inning-ending double play. Moose also struck out Young with two aboard to end the third.

The Yankees finally tacked a run on against Feldman in the fifth when Johnny Damon singled in Wilson Betemit. Mussina's defense then kept the Rangers off the board in the sixth. Marlon Byrd reached on a one out double, but was caught off second base on Boggs' comebacker to Mussina. Byrd was retired in a run down and the Rangers ran themselves out of the inning completely when Boggs was nailed trying to reach second base as Byrd was caught.

Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte retired the Rangers in order in the 8th, and the Yankees added an insurance run in the ninth. Cano lead off with a double, but was thrown out trying to advance on a comebacker to reliever Jamey Wright. Then some poor defense helped the Yankees out. Ian Kinsler fielded Jose Molina's grounder, but instead of starting a 4-6-3 DP, he threw to 1st base. Betemit wisely stepped off the bag and returned since the force was off. Back to back singles by Damon and Jeter brought Betemit around, though Jeter was nailed trying to advance to second to end the inning.

Mariano Rivera came on in the 9th and made quick work of the Rangers, retiring the side in order on just 8 pitches. He earned his 28th save in as many chances.

News and Notes

Mike Mussina became the seventh pitcher to top 3,500 innings in his career and also went over the 200 inning mark for the first time since 2003. His 15-7 record matches his final numbers for 2006. It is also the 11th time in his career that Mussina has won at least 15 games.

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