|N.Y. Yankees (89-73) «||0||0||0||3||0||0||0||0||3||6||10||1|
In a season with little to celebrate, his teammates gave him a rousing welcome -- one he had waited his entire 18-year career to receive. Mussina had just become the oldest pitcher to win 20 games in a season for the first time as the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 6-2 on Sunday in the opener of a rain-delayed day-night doubleheader.
"This is one of those things that I think will take a while to sink in," said Mussina, who has won at least 18 games five other times.
Less than three months before his 40th birthday, Mussina (20-9) gave up three hits in six shutout innings in his final start of a season in which the Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time since 1993. He did return to the field to bring out the lineup card for the second game.
"I'm proud of myself to be able to do this after last year," he said.
Last year, he had the highest ERA of his career (5.15). This season, it was 3.37 after he allowed one earned run in 16 innings over his last three starts.
Previously, the oldest first-time 20-game winner was Jamie Moyer, who was 38 when he went 20-6 for Seattle in 2001. Mussina, who hasn't committed to playing next season, could be the first pitcher to retire following a 20-victory season since Sandy Koufax.
"I just had a lot of fun playing this year," Mussina said. "I don't know what the future holds. When you've got 18 seasons in, it could always be your last year."
Mussina's previous high for wins came in 1995 and 1996, when he won 19 each year for Baltimore. Mussina went 0-2 in his last four starts in 1996, leaving his final one with a 2-1 lead after eight innings only to watch Armando Benitez allow a tying homer to Toronto's Ed Sprague in the ninth.
After Boston closed to 3-2 in the eighth on Chris Carter's RBI grounder off Joba Chamberlain and Jacoby Ellsbury's run-scoring single against Damaso Marte, Rivera struck out Dustin Pedroia to end the inning. The Yankees added three runs in the ninth against Jonathan Papelbon, and Rivera finished with a hitless ninth for his 39th save in 40 chances.
Rivera returned from tests in New York and may have arthroscopic shoulder surgery.
"Joe told me a couple days ago he'd have everybody ready, and I guess that means Mo in the eighth," Mussina said. "I know he's not feeling 100 percent but he's still throwing the ball great. I'm glad he came back from New York."
Rivera got his 49th save in a game that Mussina won, trailing only the combination of Oakland's Bob Welch and Dennis Eckersley (57) and the Yankees' Andy Pettitte and Rivera (55).
"Guys were so happy," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "They were clapping when he came in and there were a lot of hugs."
Pedroia went 2-for-4 to increase his batting average to .326 and needed a big second game to win the AL batting title over Minnesota's Joe Mauer, who was at .330.
"I'm not real big into personal achievements like that," Pedroia said. "I've had a great season and if I finish second or third, or whatever it is, I'm happy with that. It's fine."
With Boston heading to the playoffs to defend its World Series title and New York missing the postseason, the game lacked the usual intensity of Yankees-Red Sox matchups.
"I didn't have any big goals today, but just to be able to throw in the game," Matsuzaka said through translator Masa Hoshino. "With how the weather has been, (that) was enough for me."
In a pregame ceremony, Johnny Pesky's No. 6 was retired by the Red Sox as the 89-year-old former shortstop stood under an umbrella at home plate wearing the team's white home uniform with his number on the back. The other five numbers retired by the team are Bobby Doerr (1), Joe Cronin (4), Carl Yastrzemski (8), Ted Williams (9) and Carlton Fisk (27).
|Mike Mussina is pumped after becoming the oldest first-time 20-game winner in MLB history. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|New York Yankees|
|Brett Gardner, CF||5||1||1||0||0||1||1||.228|
|Johnny Damon, LF||4||0||0||0||1||0||0||.303|
|Bobby Abreu, RF||2||1||0||0||2||1||0||.296|
|Melky Cabrera, RF||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||.244|
|Alex Rodriguez, 3B||4||1||2||1||1||1||0||.302|
|Jason Giambi, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||3||4||.247|
|Juan Miranda, 1B||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.375|
|Xavier Nady, DH||4||1||2||3||0||1||0||.307|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||4||1||3||0||0||0||1||.270|
|Cody Ransom, SS||3||1||2||0||1||1||1||.325|
|Jose Molina, C||3||0||0||1||0||1||4||.216|
|2B - Robinson Cano (35, Matsuzaka)|
|HR - Xavier Nady (25, Matsuzaka)|
|SF - Jose Molina (3)|
|RBI - Melky Cabrera (37), Alex Rodriguez (103), Xavier Nady 3 (96), Jose Molina (18)|
|2-OUT RBI - Alex Rodriguez (36), Xavier Nady 3 (45)|
|SB - Bobby Abreu (22, 2nd base off Matsuzaka/Varitek), Robinson Cano (2, 3rd base off Matsuzaka/Varitek)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|Outfield Assists - Johnny Damon 1|
|DP - Cano-Ransom-Giambi, Cano-Ransom-Giambi|
|E - Cody Ransom (3, Misplayed grounder(Bailey pinch runs for David Ortiz on an 0-1 count))|
|New York Yankees|
|Mike Mussina (W,20-9)||6||3||0||0||2||3||0||3.37|
|Phil Coke (H,5)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||0.61|
|Brian Bruney (H,12)||0.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.83|
|Mariano Rivera (S,39)||1.1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.40|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Mussina 73-48, Phil Coke 13-9, Joba Chamberlain 10-4, Brian Bruney 10-7, Damaso Marte 6-5, Mariano Rivera 23-16|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Mussina 7-5, Phil Coke 1-0, Brian Bruney 1-0, Mariano Rivera 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Mike Mussina 20, Phil Coke 3, Joba Chamberlain 2, Brian Bruney 2, Damaso Marte 1, Mariano Rivera 5|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Jacoby Ellsbury, CF||4||0||1||1||0||0||1||.280|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||4||0||2||0||0||1||2||.326|
|David Ortiz, DH||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.264|
|Jeff Bailey, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.283|
|Kevin Youkilis, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.312|
|J.D. Drew, RF||2||0||0||0||1||1||1||.280|
|Jonathan Van Every, RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.231|
|Jason Bay, LF||3||1||0||0||1||2||2||.286|
|Mark Kotsay, 1B||3||1||1||0||0||0||1||.276|
|Jed Lowrie, SS||3||0||0||0||0||2||2||.256|
|Jason Varitek, C||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||.220|
|George Kottaras, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.200|
|David Ross, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.230|
|a- Chris Carter, PH||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||.429|
|Kevin Cash, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.232|
|a-grounded out for Ross in the 8th|
|2B - Mark Kotsay (25, Chamberlain)|
|RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (47), Chris Carter (2)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (22)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Youkilis-Pedroia-Kotsay|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Daisuke Matsuzaka (L,18-3)||4||4||3||3||2||5||1||2.90|
|WP - Javier Lopez (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Daisuke Matsuzaka 73-46, Javier Lopez 29-17, Manny Delcarmen 23-16, Hideki Okajima 11-8, Jonathan Papelbon 33-18|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daisuke Matsuzaka 4-3, Javier Lopez 1-0, Manny Delcarmen 3-2, Jonathan Papelbon 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Daisuke Matsuzaka 18, Javier Lopez 5, Manny Delcarmen 7, Hideki Okajima 3, Jonathan Papelbon 8|
|Attendance - 37091|
|Game Time - 3:16|
|Temperature - 67|
|Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Jerry Layne, Third Base - Randy Marsh|