|N.Y. Yankees (74-64) «||0||0||0||3||2||1||0||1||0||7||9||0|
|Tampa Bay (84-52)||0||0||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||2||12||1|
The 39-year-old right-hander earned his 17th win, and the Yankees got home runs from Alex Rodriguez and Xavier Nady in a 7-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night that included a scoreless relief outing by Joba Chamberlain.
"We're just trying to win ballgames any way we can. I'm trying to contribute on my day," Mussina said. "We battled to get out of some situations. We got some big hits we needed."
Chamberlain came off the disabled list for New York and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Tampa Bay's lead in the AL East was trimmed to four games over Boston, which beat Baltimore 14-2.
Mussina (17-7) got his 267th victory, passing Hall of Famers Bob Feller and Eppa Rixey for sole possession of 34th place on the career list. One thing that's eluded him, though, is a 20-win season.
"Obviously, you would like to see a guy that has been so good for so long be able to achieve that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's kind of neat that he's chasing it."
Mussina allowed two runs and 10 hits in six-plus innings. He matched a season high with eight strikeouts, improving to 3-0 against the Rays. He also beat them on April 7 and May 14, and his 19 career victories tie him with Tim Wakefield for the most by any pitcher against Tampa Bay.
Nady hit a two-run homer off Matt Garza (11-8) for the third-place Yankees, who have won 10 of 16.
Rodriguez hit home run No. 548, tying Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt for 12th on the career list. The eighth-inning solo shot off Jason Hammel was his 30th of the year, giving A-Rod 11 consecutive seasons -- and 12 overall -- with 30 or more.
Meanwhile, Chamberlain made a strong return from a month stay on the DL. He entered with runners on first and third with two outs in the seventh inning and needed just one pitch to get out of the jam.
"It felt good," Chamberlain said. "My mechanics were kind of off, all over the place. But at the end of the day, there's a zero. That's what a month does physically. I came out great."
The right-hander was placed on the DL with right rotator cuff tendinitis on Aug. 6, two days after he left a start against Texas with shoulder soreness. The Yankees expect him to work out of the bullpen the rest of the season.
Chamberlain allowed one hit and walked one in 1 1/3 innings. Dan Giese, also activated from the DL on Tuesday, worked the ninth in a non-save situation.
"Joba looked good for not being out there for a while," Girardi said.
Mussina, 19-7 lifetime against Tampa Bay, gave up an RBI single to Cliff Floyd in the third and left after Gabe Gross and Shawn Riggans opened the seventh with consecutive doubles to trim New York's lead to 6-2.
Akinori Iwamura followed with a single, putting runners at the corners with no outs, but the Yankees' bullpen didn't allow any more damage.
Damaso Marte struck out B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena. Chamberlain entered to a standing ovation from Yankees fans among the crowd of 21,629 and got pinch-hitter Rocco Baldelli to ground into a force play on a 96 mph fastball.
The Rays, who had won five in a row, are beginning a stretch of 19 consecutive games against clubs in playoff contention, including six against Boston and five more against the Yankees -- one of just two AL teams with winning records against Tampa Bay this season.
"I know they've hit a few tough moments this year. But they are the Yankees. They are very talented and they beat us again," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We'll put it behind us and play them again."
Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui all drove in one run apiece against Garza, who yielded six runs and five hits in five-plus innings. The right-hander had allowed four runs combined in his previous three starts.
|A-Rod and Xavier Nady combine for two home runs, three RBI and four runs in the Yankees win. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|New York Yankees|
|Johnny Damon, CF||5||1||2||1||0||0||1||.317|
|Derek Jeter, SS||5||1||1||1||0||1||1||.295|
|Bobby Abreu, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.299|
|Alex Rodriguez, 3B||3||3||2||1||1||0||0||.311|
|Jason Giambi, 1B||2||0||1||1||0||0||0||.250|
|Cody Ransom, PR-1B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.600|
|Xavier Nady, LF||4||1||1||2||0||2||3||.321|
|Hideki Matsui, DH||4||0||1||1||0||0||1||.304|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||1||3||.268|
|Jose Molina, C||3||0||0||0||0||3||3||.222|
|2B - Jason Giambi (14, Hammel)|
|3B - Johnny Damon (5, Garza)|
|HR - Alex Rodriguez (30, Hammel), Xavier Nady (22, Garza)|
|SF - Jason Giambi (9)|
|SH - Jose Molina (8)|
|RBI - Johnny Damon (59), Derek Jeter (63), Alex Rodriguez (86), Jason Giambi (86), Xavier Nady 2 (84), Hideki Matsui (43)|
|2-OUT RBI - Xavier Nady 2 (38)|
|SB - Derek Jeter (10, 2nd base off Garza/Riggans)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|Outfield Assists - Johnny Damon 1|
|DP - Rodriguez-Cano-Giambi|
|New York Yankees|
|Mike Mussina (W,17-7)||6||10||2||2||1||8||0||3.39|
|Joba Chamberlain (H,13)||1.1||1||0||0||1||0||0||2.59|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Mussina 104-70, Damaso Marte 11-10, Joba Chamberlain 18-10, Dan Giese 20-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Mussina 7-1, Joba Chamberlain 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Mike Mussina 27, Damaso Marte 3, Joba Chamberlain 6, Dan Giese 3|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Akinori Iwamura, 2B||5||0||1||0||0||3||0||.279|
|B.J. Upton, CF||5||1||1||0||0||3||2||.270|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||4||0||2||0||1||2||2||.249|
|Cliff Floyd, DH||3||0||1||1||0||0||2||.270|
|a- Rocco Baldelli, PH-DH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.342|
|Willy Aybar, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.250|
|Eric Hinske, LF||3||0||2||0||1||0||0||.255|
|Jason Bartlett, SS||4||0||2||0||0||1||1||.281|
|Gabe Gross, RF||4||1||1||0||0||1||4||.237|
|Shawn Riggans, C||3||0||1||1||0||1||1||.229|
|b- Ben Zobrist, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.224|
|Dioner Navarro, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.290|
|a-hit into fielder's choice for Floyd in the 7th|
|b-grounded out for Riggans in the 8th|
|2B - Carlos Pena (19, Mussina), Eric Hinske (20, Mussina), Gabe Gross (12, Mussina), Shawn Riggans (7, Mussina)|
|RBI - Cliff Floyd (33), Shawn Riggans (24)|
|2-OUT RBI - Cliff Floyd (17)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|DP - Miller-Bartlett-Pena|
|E - Matt Garza (1, Throwing)|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Matt Garza (L,11-8)||5||5||6||4||1||2||1||3.64|
|HBP - Giambi (by Trever Miller)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Matt Garza 100-65, Trever Miller 23-17, Jason Hammel 21-17, Juan Salas 11-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Garza 4-10, Trever Miller 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Matt Garza 22, Trever Miller 8, Jason Hammel 5, Juan Salas 3|
|Attendance - 21629|
|Game Time - 3:25|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Brian Runge, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Jerry Layne, Third Base - Charlie Reliford|