for this game

Mussina on game again as Yanks top Blue Jays

Sep 23, 2007 - 11:24 PM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BRONX, New York (Ticker) - While the revival of Mike Mussina continued, there may also be an alteration to the "Joba Rules".

Mussina pitched seven innings for his 250th career victory and Joba Chamberlain celebrated his 22nd birthday with his first career save as the New York Yankees inched closer to their 13th straight postseason berth with a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Yankees (90-65) won for the 14th time in 17 games, closing within 1 1/2 games of the Boston Red Sox (92-64) and remaining five games in front of the Detroit Tigers for the wild card. They also reduced their magic number to clinch a playoff spot to two, which means they can qualify by beating Toronto Monday afternoon and having Minnesota defeat Detroit at night.

Mussina won his third straight start since his return to the rotation, which was caused by Roger Clemens' recent elbow injuries. With the exception of a three-run second inning, he was sharp, allowing three runs and seven hits.

"I think the most encouraging sign for me and stopped it right there," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Early on, when he had those three bad starts he had some bad experiences early in the game and didn't recover from it."

He struck out five, walked one and threw 66 of 97 pitches for strikes to become the 43rd pitcher to reach 250 wins, something that might not have seemed possible a few weeks ago when he struggled through three awful outings.

"It's a nice number," Mussina said. "It's better than 249. It's nice to be given a chance to go out there for that long a period of time and a chance to win 250 games and to play with some of the talent and with some of the teams I've had a chance to do it, it's been a lot of fun. It's been great and hopefully before I'm done I can go out there and win some more."

Since returning from his first career stint in the bullpen, Mussina had thrown 12 1/3 scoreless frames, including Tuesday's outing against Baltimore when he scattered three hits in seven innings, prompting Torre to say that it looked like he was able to do whatever he wanted to out there.

It was not quite that way Sunday as Mussina needed some help from his defense. Center fielder Melky Cabrera recorded his major league-leading 16th outfield assist in the fourth and catcher Jose Molina picked off Alex Rios an inning earlier.

After those defensive gems, Mussina retired the final nine hitters and the Yankees turned things over to the bullpen, which used nine pitchers in Saturday's 12-11 five-hour win.

"The last couple of innings I felt pretty good about what I could do and felt that most pitches I was choosing, where I was choosing and throwing was the right thing to do. When you have that level of trust in your stuff or that level of confidence, usually things are going well. Today after the second inning, things went pretty well."

Luis Vizcaino was did not pitch Saturday and he recorded the first two outs before allowing a two-run home run to Matt Stairs that created a save situation and prompted Chamberlain to begin warming up. Vizcaino gave up a single to Aaron Hill, walked Greg Zaun and Chamberlain entered to face the potential go-ahead run.

Chamberlain pitched two innings in Friday's 14-inning loss and normally would not have been available until Monday. But the rules for him have been evolving and when Torre consulted with minor league pitching instructor Nardi Contreras and general manager Brian Cashman, they decided to alter them and give him the chance to record a save.

"We're on the move with this thing," Torre said. "A lot of it's going to be judged on pitched count. Certain situations have to be right for us in a position to use him and unfortunately it called for that in the eighth inning."

"I didn't have any idea," Chamberlain said. "He told me to start playing catch and to get hot. You kind of watch and see and kind of dictate what's going to happen. It was good. You get that adrenaline going, but make sure you're ready."

Pitching in the middle of an inning for the second time in his brief career, Chamberlain struck out Adam Lind on five straight sliders and when the Yankees did not score in the bottom half, he filled in for Mariano Rivera, who threw 34 pitches Wednesday and pitched in the previous two games.

"I thought it was the least I could do for them considering the things they've done for me," Chamberlain said.

"Great," catcher Jose Molina said. "It's amazing what he's done."

Chamberlain threw 11 more pitches in the ninth and struck out the final two hitters and said he planned on giving the ball to his father Harlan, who made the trip from Nebraska.

"He grew a little more today," Torre said. "The ninth inning was 1-2-3. It's a tough ballclub, they've been tough for us. But that was probably the toughest test for him."

"He's a key guy for them," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "Chamberlain came in - he was the difference."

Early it did not look that Mussina would continue his comeback as he allowed a two-run double to Adam Lind with one out in the second and an RBI single to Curtis Thigpen that put him in a 3-0 hole.

That deficit quickly evaporated as the Yankees produced three runs with two outs on RBI singles from Jose Molina, Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter.

Molina also helped the game stayed tied in the next two innings as he made a quick snap throw to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz that and caught Cabrera's relay throw and convinced plate umpire Derryl Cousins that he tagged Zaun.

"I don't think he tagged me and I know I touched home plate," Zaun said. "Derryl thought he did tag me. He didn't touch me on the helmet. I know that."

The game stayed tied until the fifth when Robinson Cano had a run-scoring hit that chased McGowan. The Yankees added two more runs off Brian Tallet as Doug Mientkiewicz and Molina had RBI hits.

Molina had three hits, adding an RBI double in the seventh off Josh Banks.

McGowan, who pitched a five-hitter Monday against Boston, lasted just 4 1/3 innings and allowed six runs and six hits. He also issued a season-worst six walks and threw 112 pitches.

"I didn't have command of anything," McGowan said. "I had to go to my second pitch and I couldn't go to the curveball today. I fell behind and walks - they hurt me."








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

    BATTERIES: TOR - DUSTIN MCGOWAN, BRIAN TALLET (5TH), BRANDON LEAGUE (6TH), JOSH
    BANKS (7TH), JOE KENNEDY (8TH) AND GREGG ZAUN, CURTIS THIGPEN
    (8TH)
    NYY - MIKE MUSSINA, LUIS V

    Sep 23 4:56 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY MATT STAIRS (20) TO CENTER WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 8TH OFF LUIS VIZCAINO SCORED ALEX RIOS.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 5, NY YANKEES 7
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: A HILL (.283, 1-FOR-3)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 23 4:25 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JOSE MOLINA SCORED HIDEKI MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J MOLINA ON SECOND, R CANO ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3
    NY YANKEES 7 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.259, 1-FOR-4, RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 23 4:10 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOSE MOLINA SCORED ROBINSON CANO.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, J MOLINA ON FIRST, D MIENTKIEWICZ ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3
    NY YANKEES 6 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.259, 1-FOR-3, RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 23 3:30 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DOUG MIENTKIEWICZ SCORED ALEX RODRIGUEZ.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, D MIENTKIEWICZ ON FIRST, R CANO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3
    NY YANKEES 5 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J MOLINA (.244, 1-FOR-2, RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 23 3:28 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ROBINSON CANO SCORED BOBBY ABREU.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R CANO ON FIRST, A RODRIGUEZ ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3
    NY YANKEES 4 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: M CABRERA (.282, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 23 3:20 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DEREK JETER SCORED JOSE MOLINA.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, D JETER ON FIRST, J DAMON ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3
    NY YANKEES 3 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: B ABREU (.282, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 23 2:10 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOHNNY DAMON SCORED MELKY CABRERA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J DAMON ON FIRST, J MOLINA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3
    NY YANKEES 2 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: D JETER (.320, 1-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 23 2:06 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOSE MOLINA SCORED HIDEKI MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J MOLINA ON FIRST, M CABRERA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3
    NY YANKEES 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.258, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 23 2:01 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CURTIS THIGPEN SCORED ADAM LIND.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, C THIGPEN ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 3
    NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: J MCDONALD (.246, 1 HR, 28 RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 23 1:43 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ADAM LIND SCORED MATT STAIRS AND AARON HILL.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A LIND ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 2
    NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: C THIGPEN (.215, 0 HR, 7 RBI)

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesSep 23 1:42 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Blue Jays vs. YankeesAug 25 3:28 AM