The New York Yankees’ vulnerable starting rotation got a big lift from one of their few established starters.
Following that pitching gem, the Yankees now turn to a rookie from the minors on Sunday as they continue their four-game series against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium.
New York’s Chien-Ming Wang carried his bid for a perfect game into the eighth inning Saturday before allowing a one-out homer. Wang, who finished second in the American League Cy Young Award voting last year, wound up allowing two hits in eight innings of the Yankees’ 8-1 victory.
Wang’s performance came after New York (13-15), which has the fifth-worst team ERA in the majors at 4.91, allowed a season-high 20 hits in Friday’s series-opening 15-11 loss.
“This whole team knows how important he is to this club,” pitching coach Ron Guidry told the team’s official Web site about Wang.
The Yankees pitching staff has been ravaged by injuries as they’ve already used nine starting pitchers, including five rookies. They will use a sixth rookie and 10th pitcher—Matt DeSalvo—in the series finale on Monday.
Right-hander Darrell Rasner (0-1, 3.86 ERA) begins his second stint of the season with New York in this game after being recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Rasner will make his first start since April 19, when he gave up one run and four hits in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-6 victory over Cleveland, but did not factor in the decision. He allowed nine runs—six earned—in 14 innings before being sent to the minors.
Since his demotion, he pitched eight scoreless innings in two games - one start - in the minors.
“When I left here, I was on a pretty good roll,” Rasner told the Yankees’ official Web site. “I was confident. I let that roll over.”
This will be his first career appearance against Seattle (13-12), which lost for just its third time in 11 games.
With Saturday’s victory, New York has won five of seven following a seven-game losing streak, the club’s longest skid since the last week of the 2000 season.
Alex Rodriguez went 1-for-3 on Saturday, and is batting .435 (10-for-23) in his last six games. Rodriguez, who leads the majors with 14 homers despite not hitting one since April 23, is 12-for-36 (.333) with five home runs lifetime against Sunday’s starter Jarrod Washburn (2-2, 2.88).
Washburn is trying to win three straight starts for the first time since reeling off six consecutive wins from April 17-May 15, 2004. After throwing a three-hit shutout at Oakland on April 25, he allowed two runs and four hits— including two homers—in seven innings of a 5-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
The left-hander has allowed three or fewer earned runs in four of his five starts, and is quickly putting a disappointing 2006 season behind him.
“Last year, I didn’t show what I was capable of,” said Washburn, who went 8-14 with a 4.67 ERA last year. “I was the first one to tell you I was disappointed in my year. Now, I’m off to a good start—but it’s a long year.”
Washburn has pitched very well against the Yankees lately, allowing two earned runs or fewer in five of his last six starts while going 3-2. The left-hander split his two starts against New York last season, allowing just three earned runs in 12 2-3 innings.