Yankees 8 Astros 4: Finally, 3 Games Over .500

Tonight was a complete, fun win for the Yanks, making the HDLR a good time with an 8-4 win. Mussina struggled in the first but settled in very well, cruising through the next five. The offense came alive, working 12 hits off Astros pitching and scoring 5 of the 8 runs with two outs. For the first time all year, the Yanks are three games over .500. Thanks to everyone coming by for the HDLR tonight, a good time with lots of laughs. Also, I’m glad that Mike and Vanessa are alright after storms pushed through the east.

Mussina surrendered a three-run bomb to left to Carlos Lee, putting New York behind 3-0. It could have been worse, for A-Rod’s crisp throw and Pence’s poor base running retired Pence from third on Tejada’s grounder–bad base running. Yet the Yankees responded right away in the second. A-Rod led off with a homer to right-center, responding to my call to bash the ball out of that bandbox. Giambi and Melky then hit consecutive doubles to cut it to 3-2. Although Mussina allowed a lead-off single to Bourn, Molina helped his hurler by pegging out Bourn easily at second. Mussina then rolled, retiring 14 of the next 16.

The Yanks took the lead, working over lefty Rodriguez for 32 pitches in the third. JD led off with his second single and stole second, Jeter and Abreu flew out, A-Rod was intentionally walked, but it backfired on Cecil Cooper and Rodriguez, who walked Giambi in an eight-pitch at-bat and Melky on four straight with the bases loaded, 3-3. Molina then cranked a long single to left, 5-3. The Yanks missed a chance to add on in the sixth, when Melky and Molina led off with walks, but Sampson got AG to ground into a quick 5-4 DP, and Mussina’s out ended the threat. They also left runners on in the top of the seventh, when Jeter singled with one out and A-Rod’s two-out single moved Jeter to third. But Giambi’s fly out ended that, keeping the game within reach for Houston.

Ohlendorf entered and made things tense. With one out, Bourn bunted his way on, and scored on Ausmus’s double, 5-4. Blum’s 3U moved Ausmus to third, but Pence grounded to short, allowing the shaky Ohlendorf to wiggle free. The Yanks added an insurance run through good manufacturing. Melky singled, Molina bunted him over, and Cano pinch-hit for AG and singled up the middle just past second, 6-4 Yanks. Nuke entered in the eighth and promptly walked Matsui. But Nuke got Tejada to pop to second after falling behind 2-0, and got Berkman to ground into a DP. Cano ran at Matsui, who hesitated but Cano promptly threw to first to get Berkman, and Betemit’s throw to Jeter got Matsui. I’m still not sold on Betemit, but his replacement for Giambi was key there–and he paid dividends in the ninth offensively–simply because Giambi would not have made that play work.

In the ninth, the Yanks gave Mariano an extra day off. JD blooped a double over third, Jeter was called out on a horrible 3-2 call, Abreu’s 4-3 moved JD to third, A-Rod was again intentionally walked, and Betemit ripped a double deep to left-center, 8-4, huge insurance runs. Edwar worked around the lead-off single by Lee, striking out two. Yanks take the series, look for the Crazy Stein tomorrow, and move three games over .500 for the first time this season.

JD is setting a mean table the last month, going 3-5 with 2 runs and his 12th stolen base, batting .324 now. A-Rod was 2-3 with 2 IBBs, his 11th homer and 34th RBI, and is batting a very sharp .322. Just as important, his homer jump-started the offense right after the Yanks trailed by three. Melky broke out of his slump and responded to the Tough Love, going 2-2 with a run, two RBIs (his 30th) and three walks. Cano’s pinch-hit single was big, his 21st RBI–his own Tough Love response–and Betemit’s two-out, two-RBI double in the ninth cinched it. Mussina was really dazzling, going 6 strong and allowing 6 hits, 3 runs earned, no walks and fanning four on 90 pitches/66 strikes for his tenth win. I never would have though at the beginning of the year that Mussina would at one point have a 10-4 record–before the All-Star break no less. Jimmy (from BY&L) and J-Boogie (Baseball and the Boogie-Down) must be beaming with pride. Ohlendorf was shaky, allowing the run in the seventh, but Nuke settled in and Edwar was good, giving Mariano an extra day off and closing it down.

Great to see the Yanks work over a lefty for a change, all the better because Rodriguez had an ERA below 1.00 at home before tonight. Tomorrow, Wang (7-2, 4.36 ERA) faces Roy Oswalt (5-6, 5.06 ERA) in the series finale as the Yanks go for the Crazy Stein on Father’s Day. HDLR tomorrow, for anyone interested.

Published in: on June 14, 2008 at 9:40 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Beaming with pride is an understatement. Pleasantly surprised would also be an understatement. I don’t think anybody envisioned that Moose would be throwing like he’s throwing. I think it would behoove the Yankees to consider bringing him back for another year or two to help with the youngsters. Wang, Hughes, Kennedy and Joba could use some veteran leadership. Assuming they bring in CC, that would make Wang the oldest SP on the team. They’re going to need somebody and who better than Moose?



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