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Giambi's two-run homer paces Yanks

5/9/2004

SEATTLE (AP) -- Mike Mussina has no idea why he performs so well
against the Seattle Mariners.

Mussina pitched eight innings for his fifth straight win over
Seattle and Jason Giambi hit a two-run homer to lead the New York
Yankees over the Mariners 6-0 on Saturday night.

Mussina (3-4) improved to 16-5 against Seattle, though he can't
say why he's been so successful.

"They're a good ballclub. They've got a solid lineup," he
said, shaking his head. "You're always going to get a good-pitched
game from the other starter. I can't explain it."

He outdueled Gil Meche (1-3) for his first victory in five road
starts this season. He held the Mariners to three hits with seven
strikeouts and two walks, and Paul Quantrill finished the
four-hitter.

"One game does not mean that everything's solid," said
Mussina, who lost four of his first five starts. "It was just a
good day to pitch. I had everything working. The balls I made
mistakes on, they didn't hit."

Mussina and Meche cruised through five innings, but the Yankees
broke through in the sixth, when New York used four straight
doubles to take a 3-0 lead.

"Meche was throwing the ball really well," said Alex
Rodriguez, who started the burst when he hit one down the
left-field line. "We were able to scratch out some runs there,
start something out of nothing."

Rodriguez scored when Giambi bounced the ball off the wall in
straightaway center. Gary Sheffield doubled to left and scored when
Jorge Posada found the gap in right-center.

"They got a guy on second base with no outs," Meche said.
"You tend to realize you just can't give up a run. Next thing you
know, you make a couple mistakes to some great hitters and you pay
for it."

Giambi added a two-out homer in the seventh, driving an 0-1
pitch off Ron Villone to right field for his seventh homer this
season.

A small group of fans jeered Giambi by chanting, "Steroids ...
Steroids" as he rounded the bases, a reference to his grand jury
testimony in the investigation surrounding a San Francisco-area
drug lab. Giambi has denied using illegal steroids.

At the time, Bernie Williams was on base after a one-out single
to center. It was career hit No. 1,970 for Williams, who passed
Bill Dickey for seventh on the Yankees' career list.

Immediately after Giambi's homer, Sheffield hit his second
double and Posada scored him with another RBI double to make it
6-0.

Mussina started shakily, giving up three hits by the second
inning, but it didn't take him long to find his rhythm.

After walking Quinton McCracken with two outs in the second,
Mussina didn't allow another runner until John Olerud's one-out
walk in the seventh. One night after collecting 12 hits in a 6-2
win, Seattle never got anyone past second base after the second.

"Sometimes you're going to run into a guy like Mussina, where
he can make it difficult on you," Mariners manager Bob Melvin
said. "We obviously didn't swing the bats as well as we did last
night, but I think he had a lot to do with that."

Meche, making his fifth start and coming off his first win this
season, pitched into the sixth, facing the hitters who had the four
doubles. He allowed three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts
and two walks.

Game notes
Yankees SS Derek Jeter went 0-for-4 with a walk and two
strikeouts, dropping his average to .175. ... Mussina is to 38-17
in May, his most wins in any month. ... Rodriguez was booed each
time he batted. Fans even cheered when he ducked an errant pitch by
Meche that came high and inside in the sixth. ... Posada had two
doubles and two singles, matching a career high with four hits. ...
The sellout crowd of 46,454 was the second largest at Safeco Field,
behind the record 46,491 set Friday.