Yankees beat Orioles, but Mussina denied 17th win
The only drawback was that Mike Mussina failed to make any ground in his bid to become a 20-game winner for the first time during a career that started in 1991.
Abreu went 5-for-5 to tie a career high in hits, and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-4 Friday night.
Abreu scored the tying run on a wild pitch and Xavier Nady followed with an RBI single in the eighth inning for the Yankees, who improved to 3-50 when trailing after seven innings.
The 39-year-old Mussina again struggled against his former team and remains stuck on 16 victories. The right-hander gave up four runs and nine hits over six innings and left with Baltimore ahead 4-3.
“I kept us in the game. We were never out of it,” Mussina said. “We got the at-bats we needed in the end.”
Mussina is 0-2 with an 8.49 ERA in three starts against the Orioles this season. He has allowed three home runs in his last 11 starts—all of them to Baltimore, and two to Ramon Hernandez.
“To hold them to four runs the way I pitched the last two times against them, this was pretty good,” Mussina said. “If you can hold them to one run an inning, it’s not as demoralizing to your team. We were able to stay in and come back and win it.”
Baltimore scored single runs in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings against their one-time ace.
“Moose did a great job of limiting damage tonight,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Abreu led off the eighth with his fourth hit, a single off Jamie Walker (1-1). Alex Rodriguez followed with a double, sending Abreu to third, and Jason Giambi popped out. Rookie Kam Mickolio replaced Walker and immediately threw a wild pitch to score Abreu.
“I was trying to be too perfect with it, and I was far from it on that one,” Mickolio said.
Nady followed with an opposite-field single to right to make it 5-4.
Abreu’s five hits matched a career high, set Aug. 8, 1999, with Philadelphia against Arizona.
“The key to the whole game was we didn’t get Abreu out at all,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “He won’t chase bad pitches; that’s probably why he is as good of a hitter as he is.”
Derek Jeter got his 2,500th career hit, a bloop single in the first inning. He joins Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth as the only players to have 2,500 hits as Yankees.
Hernandez homered and drove in two runs, and Aubrey Huff also had two RBIs for the Orioles.
But it wasn’t enough to beat Mussina, whose only loss since June 30 was against the Orioles.
“I think we’ve done our homework on him and faced him enough so that we have a pretty good idea how he pitches,” Trembley said. “What you have to do is make him throw it over the plate. You can’t chase it.”
Recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the game, Baltimore starter Radhames Liz yielded hits to the first three New York batters. Johnny Damon doubled, took third on Jeter’s milestone hit and scored on a single by Abreu.
Baltimore tied it in the bottom half on a two-out RBI single by Huff.
Hernandez made it 3-1 in the fourth with his second home run in two games and 14th of the season. The drive also extended his hitting streak to 12 games, one short of his career high.
Cano and Molina homered off Liz in the fifth to tie it at 3.
“They had ‘Hit Me’ stamped on them,” Trembley said. “The ones Cabrera threw at the end might have had ‘Double Hit Me’ on them.”
The Orioles have a steal in four straight games after getting only three in their previous 31 games. … Markakis got his 14th assist, throwing out Giambi trying to stretch a single to right. … Cano’s homer landed on Eutaw Street beyond the right-field wall, the third by a Yankee this season. Giambi had the other two.