Series: Game 1 of 3

NY Yankees leads 1-0 (as of 4/25)

Game 1: Friday, April 25
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Game 2: Saturday, April 26
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in 10
Game 3: Sunday, April 27
NY Yankees7Final

Yankees 3

(19-4, 12-2 away)

Rangers 2

(10-13, 7-7 home)

    8:05 PM ET, April 25, 2003

    Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    NYY 001020000 3 6 0
    TEX 001000001 2 7 0

    W: M. Mussina (5-0)

    L: C. Lewis (3-1)

    S: J. Acevedo (4)

    Mussina becomes majors' first five-game winner

    ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Mike Mussina insists his dominating performance wasn't as easy as it looked.

     Mike Mussina

    Mussina (5-0) struck out nine over eight sharp innings, becoming the first five-game winner in the major leagues, and the Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 3-2 Friday night in their first game against former manager Buck Showalter.

    "It was tough getting loose. It was more work than maybe it looked," Mussina said. "I told them toward the end I was getting pretty close to needing some help. I blew out everything I had left."

    Knowing he was pitching his last inning, Mussina struck out the side in the eighth against the top three hitters in the Texas lineup.

    Mussina held Texas to one run on five hits and matched his best season start, for Baltimore in 1992.

    "He was so dominate, considering who he faced," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He just kept them off balance. He's the type of guy who can do that when he has all of his stuff working for him."

    Nick Johnson hit a tiebreaking homer for the Yankees, and then in the ninth the first baseman started a spectacular defensive play that ended the game.

    After Ruben Sierra's RBI double off Juan Acevedo, Michael Young lined a ball that bounced off the glove of the diving Johnson. The ball went toward second baseman Alfonso Soriano, whose long underhand toss to first just beat Young as Acevedo covered the bag.

    "I got a good view because it scared the hell out of me," Torre said. "Nick made a good reaction to it, and Soriano did was he does, react to the baseball. And Acevedo was where he was supposed to be."

    Acevedo, who got his fourth save in as many chances, also got another defensive ges. With one out, third baseman Robin Ventura climbed onto the tarp and reached into the stands to snare Juan Gonzalez's foulout.

    The Yankees rebounded from Thursday's 6-2 loss at Anaheim that ended a seven-game winning streak. They improved their record to 19-4, the best in the major leagues.

    Mussina's win came a night after Andy Pettitte became the first Yankees' starter to lose this season. The rotation's 16-0 start was the longest winning streak by a starting staff in the majors since 1900.

    Since giving up four runs in a win at Toronto in his first game this season, Mussina has allowed just three earned runs over 31 innings. He has won his last seven regular-season starts, one short of his career best.

    "Once I loosened up, I got my breaking ball going and was able to maintain my velocity and move the ball in and out," Mussina said. "It's the same formula I've been using all month."

    Mussina is the first Yankees' pitcher to win his first five starts since current pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre in 1969. He threw 71 of his 102 pitches for strikes, and walked just one.

    After Soriano's two-out double in the fifth, Johnson hit an opposite-field homer to break the 1-1 tie. His fourth homer just cleared the 14-foot wall in left.

    "That pitch was basically the turning point," said Rangers starter Colby Lewis (3-1). "I left a changeup up a little. If it's down, it's a different circumstance for the game."

    That was the only homer in the game featuring the majors' top two home run-hitting teams. The Yankees have outhomered opponents 45-7, and Texas has 39 home runs this season.

    Lewis gave up three runs, six hits and five walks in six innings, but the walks didn't cost him.

    Showalter was facing some familiar uniforms. He spent 19 years with the Yankees as a minor league player, minor league manager and was their major league manager from 1992-95. But he never faced the Yankees while Arizona's manager from 1998 to 2000.

    "I have some private thoughts and emotions about it," Showalter said. "I like it here. I have such a great feeling about Texas, and what it can be here."

    In 1995, he led the Yankees to the playoffs for the first time 1981, but they lost to Seattle in the first round and he was replaced by Joe Torre, who has managed them to four World Series titles and five AL pennants.

    The teams traded runs in the third. After Soriano's broken-bat single -- he was left with the stub of the bat in his hand and gave a fourth-row spectator a big souvenir -- Johnson walked and Jason Giambi hit an RBI single right back up the middle.

    Hank Blalock's run-scoring single in the bottom of the frame also was a liner to center.

    Giambi was back in the starting lineup as designated hitter, going 1-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk a night after being scratched from the lineup at Anaheim because of a bruised middle finger on his left hand.

    Game notes
    The Rangers turned a pair of 3-6-3 double plays, with 1B Rafael Palmeiro fielding grounders by Bernie Williams in the third and Jorge Posada in the sixth, then throwing to SS Alex Rodriguez and getting back to the bag to take the return throw. ... The Yankees have won 37 of 54 games against Texas since losing the first game in the 1996 AL playoffs against the Rangers.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press