for this game

Mussina, Damon power Yankees past Mariners

May 3, 2008 - 9:25 PM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- Mike Mussina's velocity may be down, but that did not hinder his ability to beat the Seattle Mariners again.

Mussina pitched six innings Saturday afternoon as the New York Yankees returned to the .500 mark with a 6-1 victory over the Mariners.

The Yankees (16-16) also enjoyed one of their more productive days at the plate, collecting 13 hits and scoring more than five runs for the first time in nine games.

Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter led the offense with three hits apiece.

Damon had two doubles and his fourth homer of the season, raising his batting average to .290.

Jeter hit the go-ahead RBI double in New York's three-run third inning and Damon added a two-run homer in the sixth off Felix Hernandez (2-2), staking the Yankees to a 6-1 lead.

"It's great," Damon said. "That's a problem that we've had recently. We haven't been scoring runs to make our pitchers feel comfortable."

The five-run cushion was more than enough for Mussina (4-3), who allowed Ichiro Suzuki's RBI single in the third among seven hits. He also recorded a season-high five strikeouts without a walk and threw 54 of 84 pitches for strikes.

"It's great, and that's what he's been doing for us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Again, I thought he used all his pitches effectively today. He was just great."

Many of those pitches were slow curveballs or two-seam fastballs - and that gave Mussina his third straight victory following a 1-3 start. Since his slow start, the righthander has allowed just four runs and 18 hits in 18 innings.

"This game's a constant adjustment process from the first day you go out there until the last day you go out there," Mussina said. "I've been making adjustments my whole career.

"Stuff that was nagging at me last year made it difficult to do anything I wanted to do. But coming into this year feeling 100 percent again, I've been able to do what I wanted to do and for the most part make the pitches I want to make."

Mussina also improved to 18-5 lifetime against Seattle and raised his winning percentage over the Mariners to .783. It is the fifth-highest for any pitcher against any opponent.

Mussina also is 7-0 with a 3.07 ERA in his last nine starts against Seattle since August 17, 2001. The latest win gave him 254 career victories, tying him with Red Faber and Jack Morris for 39th on the all-time list.

The veteran righthander also seemed to grow stronger in his final inning. He recorded three strikeouts in the sixth and ended his afternoon by fanning Richie Sexson with a runner on first.

"I know the ball's not going to come out of my hand going 93 ever again," Mussina said. "I have to pitch with what I have, and I think I've been doing OK."

Hernandez dominated in his first career start at Yankee Stadium last September, but his second outing here was a struggle. He lasted 5 2/3 innings and allowed season highs of six runs and 12 hits, which was one shy of his career-worst.

"Nothing was working," Hernandez said. "The only thing that was working was my changeup. If I hit my spots, it's going to be a good game. If not, I have to fight."

The Mariners (13-18) lost for the eighth time in their last 12 games. They also have made six errors in the first two games of this series, giving them 26 through their first 31 contests this year.

They have also mustered just seven runs during a four-game losing streak, entered the ninth with three runs or less for the sixth straight game and fell to 0-13 when trailing by two runs at any point in a contest.

"We can't hit for them," Seattle manager John McLaren said. "It's up to them. We put their names in the lineup and it's up to them to hit. If it doesn't work, we'll look at other options."








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

    BATTERIES: SEA - FELIX HERNANDEZ, CHA SEUNG BAEK (6TH) AND KENJI JOHJIMA
    NYY - MIKE MUSSINA, LATROY HAWKINS (7TH), EDWAR RAMIREZ
    (8TH), JOSE VERAS (9TH) AND JOSE MOLINA

    HOME

    May 3 4:00 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JOHNNY DAMON (4) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF FELIX HERNANDEZ SCORED JOSE MOLINA.
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 1, NY YANKEES 6
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: D JETER (.286, 2-FOR-3, RBI)

    Mariners 1, Yankees 6  Bot 6, 0 OutsMay 3 2:55 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Mariners 1, Yankees 4  Bot 4, 0 OutsMay 3 2:22 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MELKY CABRERA SCORED HIDEKI MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, M CABRERA ON SECOND, J GIAMBI ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 1
    NY YANKEES 4 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: R CANO (.153, 0-FOR-1)

    Mariners 1, Yankees 4  Bot 3, 0 OutsMay 3 2:04 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY HIDEKI MATSUI SCORED DEREK JETER.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, H MATSUI ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 1
    NY YANKEES 3 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J GIAMBI (.158, 0-FOR-1)

    Mariners 1, Yankees 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsMay 3 2:01 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY DEREK JETER SCORED JOHNNY DAMON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D JETER ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 1
    NY YANKEES 2 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: B ABREU (.291, 1-FOR-1, RBI)

    Mariners 1, Yankees 2  Bot 3, 0 OutsMay 3 1:57 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ICHIRO SUZUKI SCORED YUNIESKY BETANCOURT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, I SUZUKI ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 1
    NY YANKEES 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR SEATTLE: M CAIRO (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Mariners 1, Yankees 1  Top 3, 0 OutsMay 3 1:49 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BOBBY ABREU SCORED JOHNNY DAMON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B ABREU ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SEATTLE 0
    NY YANKEES 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: H MATSUI (.313, 4 HR, 14 RBI)

    Mariners 0, Yankees 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsMay 3 1:23 PM