for this game

Mussina strong again as Yanks top Blue Jays

Jun 5, 2008 - 4:01 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- While Derek Jeter surpassed a legend, Mike Mussina did something many thought would be unlikely at this point in his career.

Jeter moved passed Mickey Mantle for third place on the franchise's all-time hits list and Mussina became the second nine-game winner in the American League as the New York Yankees snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.

Jeter tied Mantle in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 9-3 loss and received a standing ovation from those who were still in the stands for the blowout defeat. This time, the ovation for his third-inning RBI single and 2,416th career hit was much louder as it came from a crowd of over 51,000.

Wilson Betemit homered and Melky Cabrera, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui added RBI singles for the Yankees.

The crowd also was able to give an ovation to Mussina (9-4), who allowed one run and five hits in six innings. He struck out six, walked one in his 103-pitch outing and joined Joe Saunders of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as the AL's only nine-game winners.

Mussina, who won just 11 games and briefly lost his spot in the rotation last year, was thought by many to be a candidate to falter as a starting pitcher. The complete opposite has occurred as the 39-year-old righthander has pitched well in a majority of his starts.

"Last year wasn't even close," Mussina said. "I was so bad the first half of year. I'm just fortunate that it has happened at this point and (I will) get up tomorrow and prepare for the next start."

"He's been outstanding," Jeter said. "Everyone talks about his velocity not being what it was once was, but he's got control of his other pitches better this year than any year I've seen him pitch. He throws four or five different pitches, and they're pretty much in their spots. So he's kept us in most of the game he's pitched, and today might have as good as I've seen him."

The latest effective outing came one night after Joba Chamberlain's first career start lasted just 2 1/3 innings and five relievers were used.

Mussina blanked the Blue Jays for 5 2/3 innings before allowing an RBI double to Scott Rolen. He avoided further damage by getting Matt Stairs on a groundout to second, setting up the Yankees' bullpen to finish out the contest.

"He's always been good," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He's got that curveball anytime he needs it now and he's spotting his fastball. His career speaks for itself. He was up and down a little bit last year but shoot, what's that his ninth win of the year? That tells you everything you need to know."

Mussina also cruised after allowing consecutive singles to Marco Scutaro and Alex Rios in the first inning. He retired 15 of the next 17 hitters and on a night in which Jeter said he did not miss a spot, Mussina improved to 8-1 over his last nine starts since April 23.

It also marked the 14th time in the last 15 seasons that Mussina reached nine wins before the All-Star break. The exception was last year when he did not get it until September 12.

"Moose has been a consistent winner his whole career," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Last year was an off year for him, but he just got right back and is doing what he does."

Ross Ohlendorf allowed a leadoff single to Lyle Overbay in the seventh but stranded him at third. Kyle Farnsworth pitched a perfect eighth and Mariano Rivera hurled the ninth.

"It's fun to pitch when you know where the ball is going," Mussina said. "I did what was working and I had pretty good command of my stuff tonight. The guys played good defense behind me, we scored enough runs and the bullpen was great."

Jesse Litsch (7-2) failed to record his sixth straight win and was tagged for four runs and a career-worst 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

The Yankees (29-30) scored their first run in the third, when Jeter lined a 1-0 pitch into right field for his milestone hit which scored Jose Molina and also ended Litsch's scoreless streak at 18 1/3 frames.

"It was kind of awkward in that situation because it's a 1-0 game," Jeter said of the ovation. "You appreciate what the fans are doing but, at the same time, you don't want to show up the other team."

New York added two in the fourth as Betemit hit a solo home run and Cabrera added an RBI single. Damon added a run-scoring base hit in the sixth off reliever Shawn Camp, and Matsui added insurance with a RBI hit in the seventh off Scott Downs.








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

    BATTERIES: TOR - JESSE LITSCH, SHAWN CAMP (6TH), SCOTT DOWNS (7TH), ARMANDO
    BENITEZ (8TH) AND ROD BARAJAS, CURTIS THIGPEN (6TH)
    NYY - MIKE MUSSINA, ROSS OHLENDORF (7TH), KYLE

    Jun 4 9:56 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY HIDEKI MATSUI SCORED BOBBY ABREU.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, H MATSUI ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 1
    NY YANKEES 5 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: W BETEMIT (.244, 1-FOR-3, HR, RBI)

    Blue Jays 1, Yankees 5  Bot 7, 0 OutsJun 4 9:31 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOHNNY DAMON SCORED JOSE MOLINA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J DAMON ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 1
    NY YANKEES 4 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: D JETER (.283, 1-FOR-3, RBI)

    Blue Jays 1, Yankees 4  Bot 6, 0 OutsJun 4 9:11 PM
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    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Blue Jays 1, Yankees 3  Bot 6, 0 OutsJun 4 9:07 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY SCOTT ROLEN SCORED ALEX RIOS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, S ROLEN ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 1
    NY YANKEES 3 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: M STAIRS (.265, 0-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays 1, Yankees 3  Top 6, 0 OutsJun 4 8:56 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MELKY CABRERA SCORED ROBINSON CANO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M CABRERA ON SECOND, J MOLINA ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 0
    NY YANKEES 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.308, 2-FOR-2)

    Blue Jays 0, Yankees 3  Bot 4, 0 OutsJun 4 8:25 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY WILSON BETEMIT (2) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 4TH OFF JESSE LITSCH.
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 0, NY YANKEES 2
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: R CANO (.215, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays 0, Yankees 2  Bot 4, 0 OutsJun 4 8:20 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DEREK JETER SCORED JOSE MOLINA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D JETER ON FIRST, J DAMON ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TORONTO 0
    NY YANKEES 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: B ABREU (.284, 0-FOR-1)

    Blue Jays 0, Yankees 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsJun 4 8:01 PM
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    Blue Jays 0, Yankees 0  Top 2, 0 OutsJun 4 7:32 PM
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    Blue Jays vs. YankeesJun 4 1:05 PM
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    Blue Jays vs. YankeesJun 4 12:35 PM