Florida at New York

N.Y. Yankees
W: M. Mussina (9-3) L: D. Willis (4-7)
S: M. Rivera (16)
HR: FLA - None   NYY - J. Damon (11)

Mussina reaches milestone as Yankees edge Willis, Marlins

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

NEW YORK -- Mike Mussina mulled over the number for a while: 2,500 strikeouts. And the New York Yankees' ace, always the thinking man's pitcher, decided it was pretty impressive.

"It's nice," he said. "I know not a lot of people have done it."

Mussina became the 28th pitcher to reach the milestone, but he seemed more pleased with pitching seven strong innings Sunday for a 2-1 victory over Dontrelle Willis and the Florida Marlins in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

"When you're up against a pitcher like Dontrelle, you know he's up for the game," Mussina said. "When you know the other guy is pitching the way he has been, runs are going to be at a premium. We both pitched well. It was the kind of game you expect with two quality pitchers."

Mussina and Willis dueled on even terms until Johnny Damon's upper-deck home run in the seventh broke a 1-1 tie and gave Mussina his 233rd career victory.

The win was significant to the right-hander because he had struggled lately.

"It was a lot of work," Mussina said. "I made some good pitches against guys who've never seen me before. It was a lot better than it's been for the last two weeks. I was pleased."

Damon wondered how Mussina ever struggles.

"I couldn't understand that," he said. "He throws that Bugs Bunny changeup that freezes guys. That's a pitch that looks like you can swing at it two or three times. It's a baseball cartoon pitch."

Damon's sacrifice fly drove in the Yankees' first run and the Marlins tied it in the sixth on an RBI single by Miguel Cabrera. With Mussina at 105 pitches, the seventh inning was his last. He fanned Cody Ross for his sixth strikeout of the game and No. 2,500.

Earlier, Mussina struck out Hanley Ramirez in the fourth, and Yankees coach Lee Mazzilli called for the ball.

"I told him, 'We need six, that's only five,'" Mussina said. "It took me three more innings to get to six."

The Mussina-Willis matchup lived up to its billing. Willis (4-7) allowed seven hits in his third complete game this season and the 14th of his career. He struck out six and walked three.

"I went up against a Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher today," Willis said.

The pitch that beat him was Damon's 11th home run of the season.

"It was a slider," Willis said. "It was just bad location and he just squared it up."

Damon drove a 2-1 pitch from Willis into the right-field upper deck. That made a winner of Mussina (9-3), who allowed five hits over seven innings.

The Yankees won their fourth in a row and handed the young Marlins their second straight loss. Florida has dropped only three of its last 13.

"It was another one-run loss," Florida manager Joe Girardi said. "It was frustrating. Dontrelle threw a great game. You think when you give up two runs you're going to win the game, but Moose was pretty stubborn."

Kyle Farnsworth escaped an eighth-inning jam and Mariano Rivera got three quick outs for his 16th save in 18 chances.

After Damon's homer gave the Yankees the lead, Farnsworth came in for the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Joe Borchard. He moved up on a sacrifice and went to third on a single by Ramirez, who stole second.

With runners at second and third, Mike Jacobs struck out and Cabrera was intentionally walked. Then Josh Willingham flied out, leaving the bases loaded.

The Yankees loaded the bases with two outs in the third on a hit batsman and two walks. But Willis struck out Jorge Posada to end the inning.

Mussina retired his first 11 batters. With two outs in the fourth, Jacobs singled up the middle. Cabrera followed with a double to the wall in right-center, but Jacobs was thrown out trying to score on a perfect relay from Bernie Williams to Robinson Cano to Posada.

"They've got to make a perfect relay to get him and they made it," Girardi said.

Williams opened the fourth with a single and Andy Phillips walked. Cano tried to sacrifice, but Williams was forced at third. Melky Cabrera followed with a bloop single, loading the bases. Damon then hit a sacrifice fly, giving New York a 1-0 lead.

Mussina allowed a pair of singles in the fifth and walked the first two batters in the sixth, including a 10-pitch free pass to Ramirez. Jacobs hit into a double play, but Miguel Cabrera tied the game with a single to center.


  • The start was delayed 48 minutes by rain.
  • Yankees DH Jason Giambi was removed from the lineup minutes before the first pitch because of back spasms.
  • ESPN agreed to carry Sunday night's makeup game in the New York and Miami markets. Originally, it was to be blacked out because of ESPN's national broadcast of the game between the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox.
  • Attendance was 53,615.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Mike Mussina, who allows five hits over seven innings, fans six, reaching 2,500 strikeouts for his career.  (AP)
Mike Mussina, who allows five hits over seven innings, fans six, reaching 2,500 strikeouts for his career. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

M. Mussina
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 1
BB 2
K 6
New York

J. Damon
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1

Related Video

Florida Marlins
Alfredo Amezaga, 2B2100110 .284
Hanley Ramirez, SS3010110 .270
Mike Jacobs, DH4010013 .268
Miguel Cabrera, 3B3021101 .344
Josh Willingham, LF4010004 .267
Jeremy Hermida, CF4000011 .283
Cody Ross, RF4010010 .260
Wes Helms, 1B4000012 .259
Matt Treanor, C2000012 .214
   a- Joe Borchard, PH1010000 .243
    Miguel Olivo, C0000000 .281
a-singled for Treanor in the 8th
2B - Miguel Cabrera (24, Mussina)
SH - Alfredo Amezaga (4)
RBI - Miguel Cabrera (48)
2-OUT RBI - Miguel Cabrera (12)
SB - Alfredo Amezaga (5, 2nd base off Mussina/Posada), Hanley Ramirez (21, 2nd base off Farnsworth/Posada)
Team LOB - 7
DP - H. Ramirez-Amezaga-Helms
Florida Marlins
Dontrelle Willis (L,4-7) 8722361 4.05
HBP - Cairo (by Dontrelle Willis)
Pitches-Strikes - Dontrelle Willis 117-73
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dontrelle Willis 7-10
Batters Faced - Dontrelle Willis 34
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, CF3112000 .300
Miguel Cairo, 1B3000002 .240
Derek Jeter, SS3010110 .333
Alex Rodriguez, 3B3000111 .284
Jorge Posada, C4000023 .294
Bernie Williams, RF3020000 .290
    Bubba Crosby, RF1000010 .261
Andy Phillips, DH3110101 .276
Robinson Cano, 2B3010013 .325
Melky Cabrera, LF3010001 .250
HR - Johnny Damon (11, Willis)
SF - Johnny Damon (4)
RBI - Johnny Damon 2 (42)
SB - Miguel Cairo (6, 2nd base off Willis/Treanor)
Team LOB - 8
Outfield Assists - Bernie Williams 1
DP - Cano-Jeter-Cairo
New York Yankees
Mike Mussina (W,9-3) 7511260 3.28
Kyle Farnsworth (H,11) 1200110 4.54
Mariano Rivera (S,16) 1000000 2.01
IBB - Cabrera by Kyle Farnsworth
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Mussina 105-71, Kyle Farnsworth 23-13, Mariano Rivera 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Mussina 6-7, Kyle Farnsworth 1-1, Mariano Rivera 2-1
Batters Faced - Mike Mussina 26, Kyle Farnsworth 6, Mariano Rivera 3
Game Information
Attendance - 53615
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Rick Reed, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Laz Diaz