Saturday, July 01, 2006
Game of the Year
After four innings, it looked like Mike Mussina might flirt with history. The rain -- and a slight groin injury -- washed those hopes away, but the Yankees' bullpen made it a successful night for the Bombers.
The Yankees topped the Mets, 2-0, on Friday in the first game of this weekend's Subway Series, limiting the visitors to just one hit on the night. Ron Villone, Scott Proctor, Kyle Farnsworth and Mariano Rivera backed up Mussina after the 63-minute rain delay, throwing five innings of one-hit ball. The Mets sent just 28 batters to the plate in the game, one over the minimum.
Orlando Hernandez pitched seven effective innings of two-run ball against his former team, but the Yankees' quintet of hurlers dominated the Mets' lineup, wasting El Duque's effort.
The game was particularly important for Proctor and Farnsworth, who have struggled to find consistency over the past month.
The win moved the Yankees within three games of the first-place Red Sox in the American League East, as Boston fell to Florida on Friday night, snapping its 12-game winning streak.
Jason Giambi put the Yankees on the board in the first, belting his 24th home run of the season, a solo shot into the right-field seats. Giambi entered the game hitless in 16 career at-bats against Hernandez.
Despite feeling a slight strain in his groin in the first inning, Mussina was nasty early, using his entire arsenal of pitches to keep the Mets guessing.
Mussina did not allow a hit through the first four innings, with the Mets' lone baserunner coming courtesy of a Miguel Cairo error. Cairo made up for it with a pair of spectacular plays in the second and third, stealing hits from Jose Valentin and Jose Reyes.
With the Yankees batting in the bottom of the fourth, the game was halted because of heavy rain. After a 63-minute delay, play resumed with Bernie Williams on first base. Williams stole second, then scored on Andy Phillips' RBI single, boosting the lead to 2-0.
During the rain delay, the Yankees decided that Mussina would not return for the fifth, not wanting to take any chances with the groin injury.
After the game, Mussina said he expected to make his next start on Wednesday in Cleveland.
Villone took over in the fifth, walking Valentin with one out to give the Mets their second baserunner of the game. But Jorge Posada erased him, throwing him out at second base as he tried to steal.
The Mets got their first hit in the sixth when Endy Chavez singled to left, but Villone deleted him from the basepaths, too, picking him off of first base.
Proctor threw a 1-2-3 seventh, though manager Torre and assistant trainer Steve Donohue went to the mound with two outs to check on an apparent injury after they saw Proctor on the back of the mound and Posada walking toward his pitcher.
Proctor said he felt a "little tweak in my lower back," but added that it was "nothing" that would take him out of the game. He stressed that to Torre, which was good enough for the manager to leave him in to face David Wright.
Farnsworth, who posted a 5.52 ERA in May and a 5.73 ERA in June, tossed an easy eighth, retiring the Mets in order with two ground balls and a popup.
Rivera closed out the game with a scoreless ninth, earning his 18th save of the season, the 397th of his career.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 11:38 AM
posted at 1:28 AM
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