for this game

Mussina again a winner as Yanks edge Astros

Jun 15, 2008 - 3:27 AM By Jeremy Rakes PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Mike Mussina hurled six strong innings to lead the New York Yankees past the Houston Astros, 8-4, on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

Mussina (10-4) is tied with Cleveland's Cliff Lee for the American League lead in wins after giving up three runs and six hits with four strikeouts without a walk. He has gone 9-1 in his last 11 starts and won 10 games for the 17th consecutive year.

"When you start the year, you are looking forward to winning ten games, and this year it came a little faster than it did last year," Mussina said. "I'm still out there pitching and able to hang in there. I gave up three in the first, but the guys got a little motivated and started banging the ball around the park. We got some big hits. ... The bullpen was really good for me. It's a good game. We played well. We won a game."

It was the 13th loss in the last 16 games and fourth in a row for Houston (33-36), which is just one-half game ahead of the last-place Cincinnati Reds (33-37) in the National League Central Division.

Johnny Damon had three hits for New York (36-33), which took a 5-3 lead in the top of the third on a two-run single by Jose Molina.

"You never know what can happen," Molina said. "Pitchers make mistakes, but we picked him up. Today was a good example of us picking him up. He settled down, and now, he's standing here a 10-game winner.

"It's always good to help. I always try to do the best I can to help. It's just part of the game."

Damon started the inning with a single and stole second before Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu flew out. After an intentional walk to Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi and Melky Cabrera walked to force in a run and tie the game at 3-3, setting up Molina's go-ahead hit.

"I feel responsible for what our team does," said Damon, who is hitting a major league-best .443 in his last 23 games. "I know what I have to do and that is to keep going, and hopefully, that means a lot more wins for us. I think our whole team is starting to find a groove. Top to bottom, we are pretty solid.

"It's good to get to the .500 mark and now three games over."

The Astros closed within a run in the seventh, when Michael Bourn reached on a one-out infield single. Brad Ausmus doubled down the left-field line to plate Bourn, but after Geoff Blum's grounder, Ausmus was stranded at third as Hunter Pence grounded to short to end the inning.

New York, however, got the run back in the eighth on pinch hitter Robinson Cano's RBI single, which scored Melky Cabrera, who had walked to begin the inning and moved over on Molina's sacrifice bunt.

The Yankees put it away with a two-run double off the facade in left center by Wilson Betemit to make it 8-4.

Carlos Lee gave the Astros a 3-0 lead in the first inning, sending Mussina's 1-1 offering into the Crawford Boxes in left field for a three-run home run.

"Anytime you start the game with a 3-0 lead, you feel pretty good. But it seemed like we couldn't get anything going after that," Lee said. "It's really tough now. We were playing so well in May, and it seemed like May went away and we went away."

After Pence doubled to start the inning and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kaz Matsui, the Yankees got Miguel Tejada to bounce into a fielder's choice, where Molina tagged Pence as he slid back into third base to get the second out of the inning.

Lance Berkman, however, kept the inning alive with a single up the middle, and Lee followed with the homer.

New York rallied for two runs in the second started by a 370-foot solo home run by Rodriguez that just went over the right-field wall and just past a leaping Pence, whose glove collided with a fan's mitt as the ball fell.

"The ball carried a lot farther than I thought it would, but I had a good opportunity to catch it," Pence said. "But then someone knocked my glove away from the ball. It's just one of those things. He probably wasn't thinking I'm going to knock this away from Hunter Pence. You can't really blame the fan. Maybe, I should hold my glove a little stiffer next time."

Giambi followed with a double to deep right-center and scored on Cabrera's RBI double to center.

Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez got out of the inning, inducing a groundout by Molina, a foul out to Berkman by Alberto Gonzalez and a groundout to first by Mussina.

Rodriguez (2-3), who said he felt good but was having problems with his fastball, got the loss after giving up five runs and six hits with three walks and a strikeout in five innings.

"He was up in the zone with his fastball," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said of Rodriguez. "If you have no command with that, you're in trouble. His breaking ball wasn't very sharp, either. He just really didn't have good stuff tonight."

The night belonged to Mussina and the Yankees, who have won seven of their last 10 games. After taking the first two games against the Astros, New York has won back-to-back road series and is three games over .500 for the first time this season.

"I think that makes you feel better as a club," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He shut them down, then we got a couple more in the third. Then, he kept the lead. You go through this lineup, and you have guys hitting the ball, and it's going everywhere. It's a dangerous lineup.

"This has been a really good stretch for us. The guys made Wandy Rodriguez really work, and he's been throwing the ball really well. We gave up three in the first and came back and jumped on them."








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

    BATTERIES: NYY - MIKE MUSSINA, ROSS OHLENDORF (7TH), KYLE FARNSWORTH (8TH),
    EDWAR RAMIREZ (9TH) AND JOSE MOLINA
    HOU - WANDY RODRIGUEZ, TIM BYRDAK (6TH), CHRIS SAMPSON
    (6TH),

    Jun 14 10:07 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY WILSON BETEMIT SCORED JOHNNY DAMON AND ALEX
    RODRIGUEZ.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, W BETEMIT ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 8
    HOUSTON 4 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: M CABRERA (.264, 2-FOR-2, 2 BB, 2 RBI)

    Yankees 8, Astros 4  Top 9, 0 OutsJun 14 9:53 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Yankees 6, Astros 4  Top 8, 0 OutsJun 14 9:29 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ROBINSON CANO SCORED MELKY CABRERA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R CANO ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 6
    HOUSTON 4 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: R OHLENDORF (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Yankees 6, Astros 4  Top 8, 0 OutsJun 14 9:27 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY BRAD AUSMUS SCORED MICHAEL BOURN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B AUSMUS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 5
    HOUSTON 4 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: W WRIGHT (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Yankees 5, Astros 4  Bot 7, 0 OutsJun 14 9:19 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Yankees 5, Astros 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsJun 14 8:03 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOSE MOLINA SCORED ALEX RODRIGUEZ AND JASON
    GIAMBI.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, J MOLINA ON FIRST, M CABRERA ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 5
    HOUSTON 3 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: A GONZALEZ (.209, 0-FOR-1)

    Yankees 5, Astros 3  Top 3, 0 OutsJun 14 7:59 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO MELKY CABRERA SCORED JOHNNY DAMON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M CABRERA ON FIRST, J GIAMBI ON SECOND, A
    RODRIGUEZ ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 3
    HOUSTON 3 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J MOLINA (.214, 0-FOR-1)

    Yankees 3, Astros 3  Top 3, 0 OutsJun 14 7:58 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MELKY CABRERA SCORED JASON GIAMBI.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M CABRERA ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 2
    HOUSTON 3 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J MOLINA (.216, 0 HR, 6 RBI)

    Yankees 2, Astros 3  Top 2, 0 OutsJun 14 7:35 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO INSIDE-THE-PARK HOME RUN BY ALEX RODRIGUEZ (11) TO
    DEEP RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN THE 2ND OFF WANDY RODRIGUEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 1, HOUSTON 3
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J GIAMBI (.258, 15 HR, 37 RBI)

    Yankees 1, Astros 3  Top 2, 0 OutsJun 14 7:33 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN INSIDE-THE-PARK HOME RUN BY CARLOS LEE (14) TO
    DEEP LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE 1ST OFF MIKE MUSSINA SCORED MIGUEL TEJADA
    AND LANCE BERKMAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY YANKEES 0, HOUSTON 3
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: T WIGGINTON (.286, 4 HR, 11 RBI)

    Yankees 0, Astros 3  Bot 1, 0 OutsJun 14 7:31 PM