The New York Yankees usually have bigger goals in June than getting back to .500.
However, that’s exactly what the underachieving Yankees will be shooting for when they complete a three-game interleague series with the National League-leading St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
A day after the Yankees got a tongue-lashing from manager Joe Torre, Randy Johnson outpitched Mark Mulder in a matchup of two of the game’s best left-handers as New York blanked St. Louis 5-0 on Saturday.
Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez each had two RBIs for the Yankees in their third victory in 11 games on a season-high 12-game trip. New York’s sloppy three-error performance in an 8-1 loss Friday night prompted the usually even-keeled Torre to call a closed-door meeting.
“Certainly, we’re closer to the team you saw today than last night,” Torre said. “Last night was just a horrible experience for all us. We just have to build on something.”
So does Carl Pavano, who hasn’t resembled the pitcher that won a career-high 18 games for Florida in 2004 before signing a lucrative multiyear deal with the Yankees.
Pavano has lost three straight starts, but pitched well in Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Milwaukee. He allowed two runs and five hits over six innings.
“I tried to give us the best chance to win, but teams aren’t going to keep this lineup down for long,” Pavano said. “Teams go through spells like this, pitching staffs go through spells like this. But the guys that are toughest rise to the top and this is far from over.”
The Cardinals, who lost for just the third time in their last 20 interleague games, will be trying to win consecutive series against the American League’s highest profile teams. St. Louis began the week by taking two of three from the Boston Red Sox in a World Series rematch.
Matt Morris will be looking to extend his perfect 7-0 start. He pitched his first complete game of the year in a 7-1 victory over the Red Sox on Monday.
Following offseason arthroscopic surgery, Morris is off to the best start of his career. He is 11-5 all-time in interleague play.