Yankees 4, Diamondbacks 1
Wang outpitched Webb in a marquee matchup of exceptional sinkerballers, and streaking Bobby Abreu hit an early three-run homer to help New York beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1 on Tuesday night for its seventh consecutive victory.
“This whole streak is based on how well we pitch, and Wang did it again tonight,” manager Joe Torre said. “When you win, you don’t feel you’re ever going to lose. It’s great confidence we’ve got right now, great confidence.”
The Yankees (31-31) won for the 10th time in 12 tries following a five-game skid, reaching .500 for the first time since they were 16-16 after beating Texas on May 9. It’s their first seven-game winning streak since a 10-game run in May 2005 that followed an 11-19 start.
“We’re playing much better. It feels good to be back at .500,” closer Mariano Rivera said. “We can’t stop there.”
Chad Tracy homered for Arizona, which lost for the fourth time in five games after an 11-1 stretch. The Diamondbacks dropped to 2-5 in regular-season meetings with New York. Of course, Arizona beat the Yankees in seven games in the 2001 World Series.
Coming off a five-hitter at the Chicago White Sox, Wang (6-4) allowed six hits and walked none in seven innings. Runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award last year, he has won his last three starts and five of six overall.
“He’s outstanding, similar to Webb,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “You know what’s coming, and you can’t do much with it. He was throwing it up there 94, 95 mph. He threw just enough off-speed pitches to keep you off the sinker.”
Wang said he left too many pitches up. But he was good enough to beat Webb (6-4), who settled down after giving up Abreu’s homer in the first. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner yielded four runs—three earned—and five hits in seven innings, dropping to 3-1 in five starts since his previous loss May 16 at Colorado.
Webb had won his last three starts, giving up only two earned runs in 22 innings for an 0.82 ERA.
“One mistake to Abreu and that’s pretty much the game,” Webb said. “It was a couple inches in, a decent pitch. It’s where we wanted it. It might have been up a hair, but he hit it well.”
Kyle Farnsworth retired Tony Clark on a liner with two on that ended the eighth, and Rivera worked a perfect ninth for his eighth save in 10 chances. Rivera has not been charged with any runs in nine straight appearances, lowering his ERA from 6.75 to 3.96.
After the start was delayed 59 minutes by rain, Webb was betrayed by one of his best defenders. Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson made a throwing error on Johnny Damon’s leadoff grounder, and Damon took third on Derek Jeter’s perfectly executed run-and-hit single on a 3-1 pitch.
“That was the key play in the whole game for us because otherwise Jeter’s ball is probably a double-play ball,” Torre said.
Abreu then drove an 0-1 delivery far over the right-field fence for his fourth homer this season, extending his season-best hitting streak to 11 games.
“That’s my mistake. Those are my three runs,” Hudson said.
Having spent his first 10 1/2 seasons in the National League, Abreu was the only New York hitter who came in with more than six at-bats against Webb— though he was only 4-for-18 (.222) with one home run.
Abreu reached base safely in nine straight plate appearances before lining out softly to third in the third inning. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk and is batting .488 (20-for-41) in 11 June games with 12 RBIs and 11 walks, after hitting .228 through the first two months of the season.
“I don’t think too much right now at the plate. In the past, I was thinking too much,” Abreu said.
Tracy, who came off the disabled list Sunday, connected in the fourth for his second homer. It was only the fourth homer allowed by Wang in 10 starts this season and first since May 5 against Seattle. He had gone six starts without giving up a home run.
Arizona put two on in the seventh and Chris Young hit a liner that appeared headed over shortstop when Jeter made a leaping, twirling grab to save at least one run.
A leadoff walk by Webb and Robinson Cano’s double put runners at second and third with none out in the seventh. With the infield in, Hudson made a diving stop of Melky Cabrera’s grounder. He threw to first for one out, and Cano was caught off second for a double play. But Hideki Matsui scored when Clark threw to second to get Cano, making it 4-1.
Hudson has nine errors this season. He made 13 last year. … Webb has allowed seven homers. … Arizona LF Eric Byrnes has reached base safely in 33 of his last 34 games. … Matsui turned 33. … The Diamondbacks fell to 7-19 in their past 26 interleague games dating to June 15, 2005. … Yankees 1B Doug Mientkiewicz had surgery on his broken right wrist. He is still expected to miss at least two months.
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