Yankees 2 Rays 1: Not Much, But Enough

Mike Mussina was yet again excellent, the bullpen was very good especially Joba and Mariano, and the bats still did little but enough to eke out a 2-1 win. Cano looked the best he has all year, the Yankees rightly had Molina bunt, Girardi at long last called a team meeting, both runs were scored via two-out RBIs, and the team got some clutch plays in the field to creep back to within one game of .500.

After Mussina and Shields worked 1-2-3 in the first, each faced down threats in the second. With two out, the Yankees threatened in the top of the second when Cano singled, Melky reached second on Pena’s error, but Ensberg’s ground out ended the rally. In the bottom of the inning, Pena led off with a single that was erased on Longoria’s grounding into a 6-4-3 DP. Floyd singled and Navarro’s single to center enticed Floyd to try Melky’s arm going to third, and Melky made him pay for two of the cardinal sins–don’t test Melky’s arm on a play to a base, and don’t make either the first or the third outs trying for third.

The Yankees worked a successful two-out rally in the fourth when Matsui doubled and Cano singled him home, 1-0 Yankees. Mussina worked around Pena’s two-out single in the bottom of the fourth to hold it. The Yanks added another in the fifth when Ensberg led off with a single, Molina bunted him over to second [it’s about time!] and, with two down, Abreu hit a bloop double to make it 2-0. Mussina stranded Gross after his two-out double, then worked a ten-pitch 1-2-3 sixth, holding the lead very well. He went batter-to-batter in the seventh, getting Pena looking on a slow curve but walking Longoria, ending his night. Ohlendorf entered and surrendered consecutive singles to Floyd and Navarro to cut the lead in half 2-1, but got help from Jeter. Stationed perfectly closer than usual to second, Jeter snared a hot liner from Gross, then flipped it to Melky to double off Floyd, ending the threat and in effect the game tonight. Joba allowed a walk but fanned the side, and Mariano was The Man yet again, going 1-2-3 in the ninth on a mere nine pitches to cinch the one-run win.

Cano erupted today, going 4-4 to break through the Mendoza glass ceiling, hitting .205 and knocking in his 12th run. Abreu’s double produced his 24th RBI. Two sac bunts from the slumping Molina were a welcome sight given that he’s now 3 for his last 42. Lots of 0-for’s, but a win is a win is a win.

And it was a win thanks to Mussina, who earned his fifth straight win and is now 6-3, going 6 1/3 really strong scattering five hits, allowing the run earned, a walk, and fanning four on 87 pitches/52 strikes to lower his ERA to 3.99–clutch start yet again, Mussina. Who would have thought that he’d be out-performing Pettite, Hughes, and tomorrow’s starter Kennedy? Not I, but I’ll surely take it. Ohlendorf wasn’t at his best but got defensive help from Jeter. Joba was excellent, and I’m not surprised in the slightest that Mariano bounced back after last night’s setback, earning his 11th save this year and 454th of his illustrious career.

Kennedy (0-2, 8.37 ERA) faces tough lefty Scott Kazmir (1-1, 2.70 ERA) tomorrow afternoon at 4:10 EDT as the Yanks try for the series split. I’m far from panicked after one-fourth of the year. I was pissed yesterday to be sure, but this team will bounce upwards, I just know it. They need the bats and, while A-Rod and Posada are big losses, this team has enough talent and experience to get the job done. They’re no slouches. Today wasn’t a great offensive effort, especially when 4 of the 7 hits came from one, long-overdue hitter in Cano. But a win is a win, and it moves them to within two of Boston in the loss column. This team has not yet begun to hit; look out when it does.

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Published in: on May 14, 2008 at 11:04 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey, Jason!

    Excellent wrap-up of the Yankees “big” 2-1 win tonight …

    I just finished posting comments about this game on your previous post “Study In Contrast”.

    Highlights: Mussina pitching another good game, and is now, 6-3, well on his way to at least 15 wins this season…

    Robinson Cano, 4-4, and now hitting, .205 … I think this game has put Cano on the road to another .300 season … When Cano gets “hot”, like he has been over the last week, he gets his hits in bunches … “Robinson Cano, don’t you know, another .300 season” … Yes, Cano, can do it !!!

    Great performances by Joba and Mariano !!!

    And, the Red Sox lost, again !!!

    Go Yankees !!!

    Take care Jason !

    -Jimmy

    http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

  2. hey i just missed you last night at sommer’s – i guess i should have stuck around a few more minutes- anyway a much needed win. whether we win or lose today i bet you ian kennedy will be throwing strikes. it’s a beautiful rainy day here–no need to go out


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