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New York at Houston

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N.Y. Yankees (36-33) «0230000128121
Houston (33-36)300000100490

Mussina helps Yankees improve to three games over .500

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Mike Mussina never expected a run like this.

Mussina pitched six solid innings for his 10th win and the New York Yankees moved three games above .500 for the first time this season in an 8-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.

Alex Rodriguez hit a fan-aided solo homer and Melky Cabrera, Jose Molina and Wilson Betemit each added a pair of RBI to help Mussina improve to 9-1 in his last 11 starts.

"No one ever sees a stretch like this," he said. "I don't even know what it is. You don't run 'em off like that very often, so you never see that kind of stuff coming ... the last 10 or 11 starts, I've pretty much been doing what I've wanted to do. I can't ask for much more than what's happened."

The Yankees won for the eighth time in 11 games and secured their first back-to-back road series wins for the first time this season.

Mussina (10-4) allowed three runs and six hits to reach 10 wins for the 17th straight season, extending his American League record. It's the third time in his career and the first time since 2003 he's done it within 15 starts.

"I'm not necessarily different," he said. "I'm not taller or throwing left-handed. I'm just making good pitches and mixing it up, whether it's pitching backwards, or not pitching backwards, or whatever it takes, any way I can get 'em out. Right now, it's working."

Mussina got off to a rocky start in his 260th victory, allowing a double and a single in the first inning before Carlos Lee's three-run homer. The 39-year-old got on track after that, retiring seven of the next eight batters before a single by Lee with one out in the fourth.

He wouldn't allow another hit until a double by Miguel Tejada with one out in the sixth, but he retired the next two batters to get out of the inning.

"He's just reeled off win after win and good start after good start - seven innings, six innings, eight innings," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's just been really, really good."

Kyle Farnsworth pitched a scoreless eighth inning before Edwar Ramirez did the same in the ninth for New York.

Rodriguez needed some help from a fan in right field to get his 11th home run in the second inning. Hunter Pence tracked A-Rod's drive to the wall in right and leaped. Replays showed it appeared the ball hit Pence's glove, but a man in the front row wearing an Astros jersey pushed Pence's glove out of the way with his glove and the ball dropped into the stands for the homer.

Pence fell to the ground, got up and turned and said something to the fan before turning back around.

"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."

The homer broke a streak of 13 2-3 innings without an earned run for Wandy Rodriguez.

With two outs in the third inning and Johnny Damon on second, the Astros intentionally walked Alex Rodriguez. Wandy Rodriguez struggled after that, walking Jason Giambi and Cabrera consecutively to score Damon and tie it at 3-3.

Molina followed with a two-run single to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead. Wandy Rodriguez struck out Alberto Gonzalez to end the inning.

He settled down and retired the next six batters before being replaced by Tim Byrdak in the sixth inning.

"He was up in the zone with his fastball," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "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."

Houston cut the lead to 5-4 in the seventh on a run-scoring double by Brad Ausmus. His hit down the left-field line rolled right by Alex Rodriguez and into the left-field corner, allowing Michael Bourn to score.

Pinch-hitter Robinson Cano, who was hitless in his previous 17 at-bats, had an RBI single in the eighth to stretch the lead back to two runs.

The Astros intentionally walked Alex Rodriguez for the second time in the ninth inning before he and Damon scored on a double by Betemit that made it 8-4. Damon doubled to start the inning.

Giambi doubled and scored on a double by Cabrera to cut Houston's lead to 3-2 later in the second inning.

Wandy Rodriguez (2-3) allowed six hits and five runs in five innings.

The loss is Houston's 13th in the last 16 games and Saturday's defeat is the Astros season-high fourth straight home loss.

"It's really tough now," Lee said. "We were playing so well in May and it seemed like May went away and we went away."

Notes

  • Gonzalez, called up from the minors on Friday, started at 2B for Cano.
  • Mussina is now tied with Ted Lyons for 38th place on the career wins list.
  • A-Rod's homer was his 184th as a Yankee, passing Tommy Hendrich and tying Charlie Keller for 17th place on the team's home run list.
 
Copyright 2014 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.
 
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Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon are in a good mood after helping the surging Yankees.  (AP)
Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon are in a good mood after helping the surging Yankees. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

M. Mussina
IP 6.0
H 6
ER 3
BB 0
K 4
Houston

C. Lee
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
 
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, LF5230010 .324
Derek Jeter, SS5010013 .270
Bobby Abreu, RF5000013 .284
Alex Rodriguez, 3B3321200 .322
Jason Giambi, 1B3210102 .259
    Wilson Betemit, 1B1012000 .232
Melky Cabrera, CF2122300 .264
Jose Molina, C3012103 .219
Alberto Gonzalez, 2B3000014 .200
   a- Robinson Cano, PH-2B1011000 .220
Mike Mussina, P3000002 .000
    Ross Ohlendorf, P0000000 .000
   b- Hideki Matsui, PH1000001 .323
    Kyle Farnsworth, P0000000 .000
    Edwar Ramirez, P0000000 .000
Totals35812874  
a-singled for Gonzalez in the 8th
b-grounded into a double play for Ohlendorf in the 8th
Batting
2B - Johnny Damon (20, Geary), Jason Giambi (11, Rodriguez), Wilson Betemit (3, Geary), Melky Cabrera (8, Rodriguez)
HR - Alex Rodriguez (11, Rodriguez)
SH - Jose Molina (5)
RBI - Alex Rodriguez (34), Wilson Betemit 2 (9), Melky Cabrera 2 (30), Jose Molina 2 (8), Robinson Cano (21)
2-OUT RBI - Wilson Betemit 2 (5), Melky Cabrera (12), Jose Molina 2 (3)
SB - Johnny Damon (12, 2nd base off Rodriguez/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Cano-Betemit-Jeter
E - Derek Jeter (6, Missed catch of throw)
New York Yankees
Mike Mussina (W,10-4) 6633041 3.87
Ross Ohlendorf (H,4) 1211000 5.80
Kyle Farnsworth (H,6) 1000100 4.02
Edwar Ramirez 1100020 2.37
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Mussina 90-66, Ross Ohlendorf 10-7, Kyle Farnsworth 13-7, Edwar Ramirez 15-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Mussina 8-5, Ross Ohlendorf 2-1, Kyle Farnsworth 1-1
Batters Faced - Mike Mussina 23, Ross Ohlendorf 5, Kyle Farnsworth 3, Edwar Ramirez 4
Houston Astros
Hunter Pence, RF4010001 .279
Kazuo Matsui, 2B2000110 .277
Miguel Tejada, SS4110001 .300
Lance Berkman, 1B4110012 .360
Carlos Lee, LF4133001 .276
Ty Wigginton, 3B4000012 .277
Michael Bourn, CF4120022 .234
Brad Ausmus, C4011001 .235
Wandy Rodriguez, P1000000 .000
   a- Mark Loretta, PH1000010 .279
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .250
    Chris Sampson, P0000000 .105
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
   b- Geoff Blum, PH1000001 .241
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .000
Totals3349416  
a-struck out for Rodriguez in the 5th
b-grounded out for Wright in the 7th
Batting
2B - Hunter Pence (17, Mussina), Miguel Tejada (18, Mussina), Brad Ausmus (6, Ohlendorf)
HR - Carlos Lee (14, Mussina)
SH - Kazuo Matsui (4)
RBI - Carlos Lee 3 (52), Brad Ausmus (10)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Lee 3 (21)
CS - Carlos Lee (1, 2nd base by Mussina/Molina), Michael Bourn (6, 2nd base by Mussina/Molina)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Matsui-Tejada-Berkman, Wigginton-Matsui, Matsui-Tejada-Berkman
Houston Astros
Wandy Rodriguez (L,2-3) 5655311 2.76
Tim Byrdak0000200 1.37
Chris Sampson 1000000 5.64
Wesley Wright 1200020 3.70
Geoff Geary 2433210 2.55
IBB - Rodriguez by Wandy Rodriguez, Rodriguez by Geoff Geary, by Cabrera
Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 87-57, Tim Byrdak 9-1, Chris Sampson 5-5, Wesley Wright 17-14, Geoff Geary 36-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 8-5, Chris Sampson 2-0, Geoff Geary 3-1
Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 23, Tim Byrdak 2, Chris Sampson 2, Wesley Wright 5, Geoff Geary 11
Game Information
Attendance - 43409
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Eric Cooper, First Base - Marty Foster, Second Base - Derryl Cousins, Third Base - Angel Hernandez