His next start at Yankee Stadium could be even more fun.
Volquez pitched seven effective innings in Cincinnati’s first game in the Bronx in 32 years, and the Reds beat Mike Mussina and New York 4-2 Friday night to end a five-game skid.
“He was sharp, didn’t look like the crowd or Yankee Stadium bothered him at all,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I mean he was out there just as poised as we’d always seen him.”
Volquez (10-2) allowed two runs and seven hits, struck out five and walked one. He leads the majors with a 1.71 ERA and 110 strikeouts, and has given up three runs or less in each of his 15 starts.
The hard-throwing right-hander could be back at Yankee Stadium next month for the All-Star game—and could be on the short list for the start.
“I don’t know. I hope so,” Volquez said when asked about his chances of making the NL team. “But I don’t know yet.”
Jolbert Cabrera had four hits before departing with a severely dislocated finger and Joey Votto homered for Cincinnati, which snapped New York’s seven-game winning streak. Ken Griffey Jr. added an RBI single in his first game in the Bronx since 1999.
Mussina (10-5) allowed four runs and 10 hits in eight innings, dropping to 0-2 in two career starts against Cincinnati. It was his first loss since he recorded just two outs against Baltimore on May 20.
New York hosted Cincinnati for the first time since the Reds won 7-2 on Oct. 21, 1976, to complete a four-game World Series sweep—the third and last time the Yankees were swept in the Fall Classic. Griffey’s father scored the winning run in the ninth inning of the Reds’ 4-3 win in Game 2.
The two franchises have met in the World Series three times, with the Yankees winning in four games in 1939 and five games in 1961.
Cincinnati took two of three from the Yankees at Great American Ball Park in 2003 but had never played a regular-season game at Yankee Stadium before Friday.
Griffey, the longest-tenured Reds player, downplayed the significance of the matchup before the game but a sellout crowd of 53,421 gave the newest member of the 600-home run club a warm reception before each of his at-bats. Cameras also flashed in the stands with Griffey at the plate.
“Every place we go he gets that kind of reception,” Baker said. “I think people all over really appreciate what he’s done in his career.”
Griffey grounded an RBI single into right field to finish Cincinnati’s three-run fifth against Mussina, who was 9-1 with a 3.25 ERA in his previous 11 starts. The Reds’ big inning started when Edwin Encarnacion’s sinking liner went off left fielder Johnny Damon’s glove for a leadoff double.
“Unfortunately, losing that ball in the lights cost us three,” Damon said. “I saw it, felt like I had a bead on it. It’s like you’re seeing shadows and you try to stick your glove in the right spot. I almost had it in the right spot.”
Cabrera had the big blow in the fifth, hitting a tiebreaking two-run double with two outs to give the Reds a 3-1 lead. Cabrera’s drive into the left-field corner came after Mussina issued an intentional walk to Jay Bruce to face the light-hitting shortstop, who entered with a .214 average and no RBIs.
“Bruce has had some success in those situations and we liked the matchup against Cabrera,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.”
Said Mussina: “I didn’t get to choose. That’s the path we chose. That was it.”
Damon had a broken-bat RBI single in the third and Robinson Cano’s base hit drove in another run in the seventh but that was it against Volquez, who has won his last three decisions.
The Yankees put runners on first and third after Cano’s hit cut it to 4-2 but Volquez struck out Melky Cabrera to get out of the inning, pumping his arm as he made his way to the dugout. Cabrera and Volquez are from the Dominican Republic and grew up together.
“He told me after the game he’s going to call me about my changeup,” a smiling Volquez said. “He’s going to ask about my changeup.”
Jolbert Cabrera singled in the seventh and dislocated his left index finger sliding into second after Mussina threw a wild pitch. He was taken to a hospital to have it reduced under anesthesia, and Baker said Cabrera will be the Reds’ fourth shortstop on the disabled list.
“It’s tough,” Baker said. “When I saw him down like that I was just hoping that it wasn’t another injury.”
Mussina entered with 21 wins in 43 interleague starts, both major league records. … The Reds are expected to call up right-hander Daryl Thompson to start Saturday’s game. It will be his major league debut. … Yankees RHP Ian Kennedy, on the disabled list with a strained muscle near his right rib cage, was expected to throw three innings or 50 pitches in a minor league rehab start in Florida on Monday.