The Yankees again entered another game in which they had to win, as they opened a three-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore. Mike Mussina was on the mound for the Bombers, going for win number 17.
The Yanks jumped out to a fast 1-0 lead in the top of the first, when Johnny Damon led off with a double; advanced to third base on a bloop single by Derek Jeter; and, scored on a RBI single by Bobby Abreu.
The hit by Jeter was his 2,500th of his Hall of Fame career.
The Bombers had a chance to break this game open, as Alex Rodriguez was the next batter up. But, A-Rod hit into a 5-4-3 double play, that was followed by Jason Giambi striking out, to end the inning with the Yankees leading, 1-0.
The Orioles scored a run in each of the first, third, fourth, and sixth innings, including a solo homerun by Ramon Hernandez in the 6th, as Mike Mussina was only pitching okay, not one of his best performances.
The Yankees scored two runs in the top of the 5th, on back-to-back homeruns by Robinson Cano, and Jose Molina. So, by the time Mussina was replaced after pitching only 6 innings, the Orioles were ahaed in this game, 4-3.
Mussina ended up allowing four runs, on nine hits, no walks [again in a game], while striking out three batters. Also, Mike Mussina would not get his 17th win on this night.
Jose Veras (W, 4-2), replaced Mussina, and pitched a scoreless 7th inning, as the game headed to the top of the 8th with the O’s still leading, 4-3.
Bobby Abreu started off the 8th by stroking his 4th straight single. Then, Alex Rodriguez hit a long shot off the top of the left field wall that just missed being a homerun, but went for a double. The Yankees now had runners on second and third with no outs, with Jason Giambi up next.
Giambi grounded out to short without a run scoring, for out number one. With Xavier Nady up at the plate next, a wild pitch by reliever, Kameron Mickolo, [one of seven Baltimore pitchers who appeared in this game], allowed Abreu to cross the plate from third, tying the game, 4-4. Then, Nady singled home A-Rod, to move the Bombers ahead in this contest, 5-4.
On to the top of the 9th inning.
With one out, Bobby Abreu, (5-for-5), got his fifth single of the game, which upped his batting average to .295. Alex Rodriguez followed by hitting a grounds rule double, that set-up a three-run homerun by Cody Ransom [his second three-run homer since being called up from AAA-SWB], to give the Yankees a 8-4 lead. Xavier Nady then went back-to-back with Ransom, hitting a homerun to complete the scoring in this game, 9-4.
Mariano Rivera, who entered the game to get the final out of the 8th, threw a scoreless 9th inning, to close out this very important 9-4 victory, recording his 29th save.
The Yankees stayed in this game, and made a nice comeback, to stay in the AL EAST pennant race. They just have to keep repeating this formula each game, as that is the path that will lead the Yankees into October Baseball once again. Go Yankees !!!