In their first game following Hideki Matsui's injury, the New York Yankees didn't need much offense, beating the Oakland Athletics 2-0 Friday night behind eight stifling innings by Wang and home runs by Alex Rodriguez and Bernie Williams.
"He threw the ball incredible," Rodriguez said. "That's the best he's thrown all year."
Matsui had surgery Friday to repair his left wrist, broken Thursday night when he tried for a diving catch against Boston. The left fielder will be sidelined for at least three months.
"We know we don't have Matsui, but again, it's not going to take away from our resolve and what we need to do," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We're going to have to pull together and get this thing accomplished and, hopefully, tonight was step one."
Helped by four double plays, Wang (3-1) put together the best of his 25 career starts, never allowing a runner past first as he defeated Barry Zito (2-3). Mixing his fastball with sinkers and sliders, he gave up three singles, walked two and struck out none, getting 20 outs on grounders.
"He's one of the toughest pitchers we've faced this year," said Mark Ellis, who grounded out three times against Wang. "He's got so much movement on his fastball. Tonight, he was locating his fastball real well."
Wang was backed by some dandy defense. Second baseman Robinson Cano backhanded Adam Melhuse's grounder near second leading off the eighth, and made a strong, leaping throw from the edge of the outfield grass for the out. Andy Phillips made several nice stops at first.
Torre said he would have left Wang in for the ninth with a four-run lead or perhaps even three. With a lesser margin, Mariano Rivera came in for the third straight night.
Pitching with a cold, he walked Marco Scutaro with one out, allowed a single to Ellis and fell behind in the count 2-0 to Nick Swisher, who took a big cut and missed. Swisher then ended the game by grounding into Oakland's fifth double play, giving Rivera his seventh save in eight chances.
"I was 150 percent sure he was going to throw a cutter, and he did. The 2-1 moved a lot more than the 2-0 did," Swisher said. "Second time I've faced him, great situation to be in, and he made me ground into a double play. His cutter, it's a heat-seeker, and it aims for handles, aims at nothing but handles of bats."
Rodriguez, booed in his first two at-bats after striking out, pulled Zito's changeup over the wall in left-center, near the 399-foot sign, leading off the sixth inning. Before the homer, Rodriguez was hitting .210 (13-for-62) in his career against Zito -- including a grand slam in New York's season-opening 15-2 win at Oakland.
"It was down and away. It was right where I wanted it to be," Zito said. "It was more bad selection than a bad pitch."
It was A-Rod's second go-ahead homer in three nights.
"I'm taking a very aggressive approach," he said. "My hands are coming alive."
Williams added his second homer of the season in the eighth, a drive off former Yankee Randy Keisler, who was called up before the game and made his Oakland debut.
With Matsui sidelined for three months or more and right fielder Gary Sheffield out probably until the end of the month with a wrist injury, Torre said the Yankees will primarily use Bubba Crosby and Melky Cabrera as their corner outfielders. Against the left-handed Zito, Cabrera started in left and Williams in right, and Crosby replaced Cabrera in the eighth inning.
"It's hard to replace Matsui or Sheffield. It's almost impossible, those guys mean so much to this team," Rodriguez said, "but we do have enough in the tank on this team. There's an abundance of talent in this clubhouse for us to go out and pitch well, and field well and hit well."
Oakland, which has lost three straight and six of nine, dropped under .500 at 17-18. The A's were without third baseman Eric Chavez (bacterial infection) and catcher Jason Kendall (serving a suspension) for the fourth straight game, and designated hitter Frank Thomas was out, a day after straining his right quadriceps.
Zito has been victimized by poor run support all season: While he's been in, the A's have not scored more than three runs in any of his eight starts, and while he has allowed one run in 20 1/3 innings over his last three starts, he has gone just 1-1 in that span.
He allowed five hits in six innings, struck out four and walked four, losing his seventh straight decision against the Yankees and dropping to 2-9 against them in 15 regular-season starts. Oakland has been shut out in its last three games at Yankee Stadium.
"Unfortunately, just one swing, one pitch, was the difference," Zito said.
- Yankees RHP Carl Pavano allowed one run and one hit in six innings for Double-A Trenton against Bowie in an Eastern League game, striking out six and walking none.
- There were seven double plays overall.
- It was the Yankees' most DPs since they turned six against Tampa Bay on June 17, 2003.