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L.A. Angels (69-41)020000000230
N.Y. Yankees (60-50) «02201120x8111

Mussina quiets Angels offense, snaps L.A.'s five-game winning streak

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Mike Mussina was standing in front of his locker, talking about how little he speaks to Jose Molina, when the catcher walked by, shouted an exaggerated "Hi," and kept going.

These two are so in sync that Molina didn't stop to see Mussina's grin -- he just knew the right-hander was smiling.

Mussina retired the final 17 batters he faced in seven solid innings, Molina hit one of New York's four home runs and the Yankees snapped the Angels' five-game winning streak with an 8-2 victory Saturday.

"It's almost like we've been buddies for 15 years," Mussina said. "We don't need to sit down. ... We make up a game plan after we've started."

Molina has been behind the plate for 21 of Mussina's 23 starts, and manager Joe Girardi decided to stay with the combination after the Yankees acquired future Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez on Wednesday.

On Saturday, Molina guided Moose to his 264th career win by using what the catcher called "feelings."

"You realize very quickly he has a good idea what he's doing. His feel for it is impressive," Mussina said. "He understands what's going on. ... He knows how to catch."

Molina also provided some offense, scoring three times and going 3-for-3, including his first home run since Sept. 5 -- a span of 221 at-bats.

"He's a big part of our team," Girardi said. "Just had an outstanding day."

After two nights of being outclassed by the Angels in every aspect of the game, the Yankees rebounded with a complete win of their own despite missing Robinson Cano from the starting lineup.

Alex Rodriguez, Wilson Betemit and Bobby Abreu all homered and Mussina, a six-time Gold Glove winner, made several stellar plays on the mound in front of 54,170 fans on Old-Timers' Day, helping the Yankees to their second victory in seven games.

Playing without center fielder Torii Hunter, who traveled home to Pine Bluff, Ark., on Saturday morning to attend the funeral of his grandmother, Edna Cobbs, the Angels dropped to 12-3 after the All-Star break. Los Angeles also was without shortstop Maicer Izturis, who jammed his thumb making a spectacular play in Friday's 1-0 win. X-rays of the hand showed a sprain, and manager Mike Scioscia said "sprains can take some time (to heal)."

The Yankees looked as if they were headed for another woeful outing against the team with the best record in baseball. They fell behind 2-0 in the second inning thanks to fill-in second baseman Betemit's throwing error. And the first four New York batters struck out against Jered Weaver, three looking.

But Jason Giambi popped out to break the strikeout spell and Xavier Nady followed with a two-out single to right. Betemit then made up for his error with a tying two-run shot.

Bouncing back from a rough outing against Baltimore, Mussina (14-7) was dominant after loading the bases on two hits and a walk, and giving up two runs -- one earned -- in the second. Had Betemit completed the double-play turn, Mussina would have gotten out of the inning without allowing a run.

"He was just hitting the corners," said Mark Teixeira, who went 0-for-3 for the Angels. "That's the way he is. He's going to live on the corners. This guy's one of the great pitchers of our era."

With the bases loaded, Mussina got Jeff Mathis, who had not grounded into a double play in 203 at-bats, to hit a routine grounder to third. Alex Rodriguez made the throw to second for an out, but Betemit's relay to first was in the dirt and the ball bounced out of Giambi's mitt, allowing Howie Kendrick to score the second run.

"The second inning was just a groundball single to right, a flyball that bounced into the stands and a groundball that didn't get turned," Mussina said.

In the field, Mussina snared a sharp comebacker to start the game, pounced on a bunt in the third and handled another hard-hit grounder in the fourth.

Jose Veras struck out three in a hitless eighth and Brian Bruney gave up a hit in the ninth to finish the three-hitter.

Abreu homered in the third, Molina connected in the fifth and A-Rod led off the sixth with the 542nd homer of his career and 24th of the season.

"A couple of them were good pitches they put good swings on -- Abreu and the one to A-Rod," Weaver said. "You just tip your cap to them."

Weaver (9-9) allowed six runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Notes

  • Willie Randolph received one of the loudest ovations from fans during Old-Timers' Day introductions. Randolph won six World Series titles as a player and coach with New York. He was fired as manager of the New York Mets in June.
  • Angels catcher Mike Napoli, on the DL retroactive to June 6 with right shoulder irritation, played five innings for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday night. Scioscia said Napoli needs four or five starts before being activated.
 
Copyright 2015 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 Jose Molina put their power on display, hitting two of the Yanks' four homers.  (AP)
Alex Rodriguez and Jose Molina put their power on display, hitting two of the Yanks' four homers. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

W. Betemit
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
New York

M. Mussina
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 1
BB 2
K 5
 

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Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B3000121 .278
Erick Aybar, SS4000021 .280
Mark Teixeira, 1B3000100 .282
Vladimir Guerrero, DH3000111 .282
Garret Anderson, LF4110001 .284
Howie Kendrick, 2B4120000 .333
Juan Rivera, RF4000004 .233
Gary Matthews Jr., CF2000110 .228
Jeff Mathis, C3001020 .218
Totals3023148  
Batting
2B - Howie Kendrick (24, Mussina)
RBI - Jeff Mathis (37)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Aybar-Kendrick-Teixeira, Aybar-Kendrick-Teixeira
Los Angeles Angels
Jered Weaver (L,9-9) 5866154 4.37
Justin Speier 1.1322110 4.89
Darren O'Day 1.2000020 4.34
Pitches-Strikes - Jered Weaver 99-70, Justin Speier 24-18, Darren O'Day 18-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jered Weaver 4-5, Justin Speier 2-0, Darren O'Day 1-2
Batters Faced - Jered Weaver 23, Justin Speier 7, Darren O'Day 5
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, DH3110110 .316
Derek Jeter, SS4011010 .282
Bobby Abreu, RF4112010 .286
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4121021 .325
Jason Giambi, 1B2000101 .252
    Richie Sexson, PR-1B1000001 .224
Xavier Nady, LF3110001 .328
   a- Justin Christian, PH-LF1000000 .269
Wilson Betemit, 2B4122020 .258
Melky Cabrera, CF4000011 .246
Jose Molina, C3331000 .237
Totals33811728  
a-popped out for Nady in the 8th
Batting
HR - Bobby Abreu (15, Jer. Weaver), Alex Rodriguez (24, Jer. Weaver), Wilson Betemit (5, Jer. Weaver), Jose Molina (1, Jer. Weaver)
RBI - Derek Jeter (50), Bobby Abreu 2 (75), Alex Rodriguez (66), Wilson Betemit 2 (17), Jose Molina (12)
2-OUT RBI - Bobby Abreu (36), Wilson Betemit 2 (11)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
E - Wilson Betemit (3, Throwing)
New York Yankees
Mike Mussina (W,14-7) 7221250 3.44
Jose Veras 1000130 2.70
Brian Bruney 1100100 1.46
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Mussina 89-58, Jose Veras 17-11, Brian Bruney 20-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Mussina 11-5
Batters Faced - Mike Mussina 25, Jose Veras 4, Brian Bruney 5
Game Information
Attendance - 54170
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Joe West, First Base - Ed Rapuano, Second Base - Scott Barry, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor