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Mussina sharp, Mientkiewicz drive in four in Yankees' rout

Sep 19, 2007 - 3:40 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BRONX, New York (Ticker) - Three weeks ago, Mike Mussina could not believe that he had forgotten how to pitch. After two straight solid outings, he has apparently remembered how to win.

Mussina threw seven outstanding innings and the Yankees scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and five in the seventh in a 12-0 rout of the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday.

Following a 16-0 loss in Detroit on August 27, Mussina hit rock bottom. That was the third straight awful start for the 38-year-old righthander, and he said that he could not believe that in those three starts he had forgotten how to pitch after 17 years.

In those starts, he allowed 19 earned runs and was sent to the bullpen for the first time in his career as the Yankees promoted rookie Ian Kennedy.

Mussina (10-10) relieved Roger Clemens on September 3 against Seattle and then made a start for the seven-time Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday in Toronto, and allowed five hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings of a 4-1 victory.

Six days later against Baltimore, Mussina was even sharper. In his 500th career start, he allowed only a pair of singles to Ramon Hernandez and an infield hit to Miguel Tejada in the seventh.

"You have some success and it creates (a) positive atmosphere," Mussina said. "It makes you believe that things are better than they were and I've gotten two starts and I've thrown the ball pretty well for two starts."

"He's got a lot of life," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "It's really good. He was throwing a lot of strikes. It looked like he was pretty much able to do what he wants."

In between those hits, Mussina was efficient, throwing 65 of 98 pitches as he reached 10 wins for an AL-record 16th consecutive season.

He struck out six, issued one walk and became the seventh pitcher to record 10 wins or more in 16 straight seasons, a list that includes Greg Maddux (20), Cy Young (19), Steve Carlton (18), Don Sutton (17), Warren Spahn (17) and Nolan Ryan (16).

"Today I felt good," Mussina said. "I felt like I could do whatever I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it. You don't have very many days like that and fortunately today was one of those days."

"That's the guy I that remember facing," Yankees first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz said. "He changed speeds, located. His last two outings have been pheonomenal.

Mussina also turned in consecutive scoreless outings for the first time since August 12-17, 2003.

"He's starting to feel good about himself and helping us win ballgames," Torre said. "That's what we're all trying to do. We're all trying to chip in and do the same thing."

"He was as good as I've seen in the last few years," Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar said. "His velocity was back up. His curveball was sharp. He was getting calls of the plate for strikes. He was able to locate where he wanted to put the baseball tonight."

The Yankees (87-64) won for the 11th time in their last 13 games and are now just 2 1/2 games behind Boston (90-62) in the American League East.

They also opened a 4 1/2 game edge on Detroit (83-69) in the wild race and reduced their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to seven.

"Less than two weeks to go, we're in a pretty good spot," Mussina said. "So we just have to stay after it."

New York managed just one hit through three innings but broke through in the fourth off Baltimore starter Jon Leicester (2-2).

Hideki Matsui, who hit a go-ahead home run Monday, had a two-run double and scored on Robinson Cano's single. Two pitches after taking a 3-0 lead, Mientkiewicz hit an 0-1 pitch into the right field seats.

"A big inning again," Millar said. "The big inning has been hurting us for about six weeks now.

It was his fifth home run of the season and first since returning from a fractured wrist. It also was the second straight game that Mientkiewicz delivered a clutch hit for the Yankees.

Mientkiewicz, who is 6-for-13 since returning, had a season-high four RBI as he added a run-scoring single in New York's five-run seventh.

Matsui and Cano had RBI singles in the frame and Melky Cabrera capped the scoring with a two-run single.

Leicester, who had won his first two starts with Baltimore, allowed six runs and six hits in four innings.

The Orioles lost for the 21st time in their last 27 contests and their three shutout losses have been in the last 17 games.

"It gets frustrating," Millar said. "But you keep coming out and competing. When you give up runs and you get down early and you have big innings, it makes you look like you're sloppy or packing it in. That's not the case. It's just part of the game."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BALTIMORE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
    NY YANKEES 0 0 0 6 0 1 5 0 x 12 13 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: BAL - JON LEICESTER, ROCKY CHERRY (5TH), FERNANDO CABRERA (7TH), ROB
    BELL (7TH) AND RAMON HERNANDEZ, GUSTAVO MOLINA (8TH)
    NYY - MIKE MUSSINA, JOSE VERAS (8TH), RON

    Sep 18 10:10 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MELKY CABRERA SCORED JORGE POSADA AND ROBINSON
    CANO.
    SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, M CABRERA ON FIRST, D MIENTKIEWICZ ON
    SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0
    NY YANKEES 12 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.258, 0-FOR-4)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 18 9:44 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DOUG MIENTKIEWICZ SCORED HIDEKI MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, D MIENTKIEWICZ ON FIRST, R CANO ON SECOND, J
    POSADA ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0
    NY YANKEES 10 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: M CABRERA (.281, 0-FOR-2, SF, RBI)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 18 9:43 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ROBINSON CANO SCORED BOBBY ABREU.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, R CANO ON FIRST, J POSADA ON SECOND, H
    MATSUI ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0
    NY YANKEES 9 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: D MIENTKIEWICZ (.243, 1-FOR-3, HR, 3 RBI)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 18 9:42 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY HIDEKI MATSUI SCORED DEREK JETER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, H MATSUI ON FIRST, B ABREU ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0
    NY YANKEES 8 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J POSADA (.337, 0-FOR-1, 2 BB)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 18 9:34 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY MELKY CABRERA SCORED JORGE POSADA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R CANO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0
    NY YANKEES 7 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.259, 0-FOR-3)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 18 9:02 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY DOUG MIENTKIEWICZ (5) TO RIGHT WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 4TH OFF JON LEICESTER SCORED JORGE POSADA AND ROBINSON
    CANO.
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0, NY YANKEES 6
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: M CABRERA (.282, 0-FOR-1)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 18 8:19 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ROBINSON CANO SCORED HIDEKI MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, R CANO ON FIRST, J POSADA ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0
    NY YANKEES 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: D MIENTKIEWICZ (.239, 0-FOR-1)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 18 8:17 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY HIDEKI MATSUI SCORED DEREK JETER AND BOBBY ABREU.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, H MATSUI ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0
    NY YANKEES 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J POSADA (.337, 0-FOR-1)

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 18 8:09 PM
  • 10
    roots
    Jason Added 5 roots

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 18 9:51 AM
  • 5
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Orioles vs. YankeesAug 25 3:28 AM