|N.Y. Yankees (15-16) «||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||x||5||7||0|
"We just can't win one out of five games, every time Wang pitches," Steinbrenner said. "It's not going to work. It's not a good win percentage. Starting pitching is where it's at, especially in the postseason. At this point, we'll see if we even make the postseason."
Wang keeps doing his part. On a night so chilly that his pitching hand cramped, Wang became the American League's first six-game winner and ended the Yankees' three-game losing streak Friday with a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
While New York has won all seven starts by Wang (6-0), the Yankees are 8-16 in other games. He pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning, and Kyle Farnsworth, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera completed a four-hitter. The Yankees improved to 27-7 when Wang starts following a loss, winning 11 in a row, and he is 22-6 in those games.
Wang can't do it alone.
"I'm very disappointed with the way the season has gone, period," Steinbrenner said at the team's spring training complex in Tampa, Fla.
Wang improved to 7-0 against the Mariners in seven career starts, allowing three hits in six innings and striking out five. Early in the game, catcher Jose Molina went to the mound with a message.
"Attack the zone. Don't be afraid to throw through the middle," he said. "It doesn't matter where he throws it, it's going to move."
In the past, Wang relied heavily on his sinker most nights. This year, he's shown a more varied repertoire.
"We don't even talk. That's probably the good thing about it. I don't know if he likes me, anywhere," joked Molina, who sported a Wang T-shirt. "Now you have to look for the slider, maybe change, maybe split, and still have the sinker there."
Joe Girardi has been impressed by Wang's cool demeanor -- and occasionally worried.
"He's so even-keeled all the time," the New York Yankees manager said, "sometimes you want to make sure his pulse is still there."
Hideki Matsui hit an RBI single in the first inning and Melky Cabrera added a two-run double in the second off Erik Bedard (2-1). Bedard entered with a 20-inning scoreless streak against the Yankees but was hurt by Seattle's defense, which made four errors in the first three innings and allowed two unearned runs. New York padded its lead in the eighth, when Morgan Ensberg hit an RBI single off Sean Green and Molina had a sacrifice fly.
Wang has been a dose of good news for the Yankees, who learned that catcher Jorge Posada will be sidelined for at least five weeks because of shoulder inflammation. New York also is without Alex Rodriguez, on the disabled list with a strained right quadriceps.
"He comes after you with his fastball. He's got a great sinker and he mixes it on both sides of the plate," Jamie Burke said. "He comes with the slider, and it's tough when it's 94 and it's right in the zone, and the next thing, it's at the bottom of the zone."
Bedard, in his second start since returning from a hip injury, allowed four hits in seven innings -- none after the second -- struck out six and walked one, retiring his final 14 batters.
He didn't worry about the fielding follies, which included errors by third baseman Adrian Beltre, second baseman Jose Lopez, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and Burke, who came out from behind the plate and muffed a foul popup.
"If you do, you're going to give up a lot more runs," he said. "You just focus on the next guy."
While the temperature was 49 degrees, damp air and a swirling wind made it feel much colder. Players wore hoodies and ski caps during batting practice.
"If this is spring, bring back winter," read the signboard adjacent to Mike Mussina's locker.
Still, Wang pitched in short sleeves.
Burke walked with one out in the fifth, just after a Yankees trainer came out to check on Wang's cramp. Betancourt swung at the next pitch and grounded into a double play.
"Guys are trying too hard. They're trying to do too much," Mariners manager John McLaren said before the game.
McLaren didn't speak with reporters afterward.
"It's just one of those times right now where we've got to get through it and forget about what happened and go on to the next day," Burke said.
|The Yankees are 27-7 when Chien-Ming Wang starts following a loss. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Ichiro Suzuki, CF||4||1||2||0||0||0||1||.273|
|Jose Lopez, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.298|
|Raul Ibanez, LF||4||0||1||1||0||1||0||.294|
|Adrian Beltre, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.283|
|Jeff Clement, DH||3||0||0||0||1||2||1||.167|
|Richie Sexson, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.223|
|Wladimir Balentien, RF||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.182|
|Jamie Burke, C||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||.158|
|a- Jose Vidro, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.200|
|Kenji Johjima, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.175|
|Yuniesky Betancourt, SS||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.290|
|a-grounded out for Burke in the 8th|
|2B - Raul Ibanez (6, Wang)|
|RBI - Raul Ibanez (21)|
|SB - Ichiro Suzuki 3 (10, 2nd base off Wang/Molina, 3rd base off Wang/Molina, 2nd base off Chamberlain/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|E - Adrian Beltre (6, Misplayed grounder), Yuniesky Betancourt (5, Misplayed grounder), Jamie Burke (1, Dropped fly), Jose Lopez (3, Missed catch of throw)|
|Erik Bedard (L,2-1)||7||4||3||1||1||6||0||1.82|
|HBP - Giambi (by Erik Bedard)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Erik Bedard 103-72, Ryan Rowland-Smith 22-13, Sean Green 7-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Erik Bedard 8-9|
|Batters Faced - Erik Bedard 29, Ryan Rowland-Smith 4, Sean Green 3|
|New York Yankees|
|Melky Cabrera, CF||4||0||1||2||0||0||0||.284|
|Derek Jeter, SS||4||1||0||0||0||0||1||.275|
|Bobby Abreu, RF||4||1||2||0||0||0||1||.284|
|Shelley Duncan, 1B||3||1||1||0||1||2||2||.190|
|Hideki Matsui, LF||4||0||1||1||0||1||3||.313|
|Jason Giambi, DH||2||0||0||0||1||1||2||.160|
|Morgan Ensberg, 3B||4||1||1||1||0||1||1||.235|
|Jose Molina, C||3||0||0||1||0||1||2||.218|
|Alberto Gonzalez, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.269|
|2B - Melky Cabrera (3, Bedard)|
|SF - Jose Molina (1)|
|RBI - Melky Cabrera 2 (14), Hideki Matsui (14), Morgan Ensberg (4), Jose Molina (3)|
|2-OUT RBI - Hideki Matsui (4)|
|CS - Morgan Ensberg (1, 2nd base by Bedard/Burke)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Gonzalez-Jeter-Duncan|
|New York Yankees|
|Chien-Ming Wang (W,6-0)||6||3||1||1||2||5||0||3.00|
|Kyle Farnsworth (H,3)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||3.77|
|Joba Chamberlain (H,7)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||1.46|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chien-Ming Wang 90-53, Kyle Farnsworth 14-10, Joba Chamberlain 19-12, Mariano Rivera 15-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chien-Ming Wang 7-5, Kyle Farnsworth 1-0, Joba Chamberlain 2-1, Mariano Rivera 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Chien-Ming Wang 22, Kyle Farnsworth 3, Joba Chamberlain 4, Mariano Rivera 3|
|Attendance - 52199|
|Game Time - 2:57|
|Temperature - 49|
|Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - Paul Schrieber, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Wally Bell|