Mike Mussina makes himself right at home on the mound at pitcher-unfriendly Rangers Ballpark, especially lately. He earned his AL-leading 15th victory and fifth win in six starts at Texas on Thursday. A look at the red-hot Moose's recent run in Arlington:
Mussina pitched seven sharp innings for his 15th win, and the Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 3-0 on Thursday night to gain a four-game split before starting their next road series against the AL-leading Angels.Mussina (15-7) threw seven scoreless innings to shut down the highest-scoring offense in the majors. He matched Cleveland's Cliff Lee for most wins in the American League and got his fifth victory in seven starts."I didn't have my best stuff today," Mussina said.Then how did he help the Yankees become just the second team this season to shut out the Rangers?"I don't know. I just kept going with what I had."Yankees manager Joe Girardi was more impressed."They obviously have a very, very good offensive club," Girardi said, "and Moose shut them down."The Yankees won for the second consecutive night and moved within three games of idle Boston in the wild-card race, while the Rangers dropped to 3 1/2 games behind New York.Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his career-best 28th consecutive save this season. Derek Jeter had three hits and drove in two runs, including a solo homer in the first.Behind Mussina's gem, the Yankees joined Minnesota as the only teams to shut out Texas this season. He fanned sluggers Michael Young and Josh Hamilton twice, closed three innings with strikeouts and ended three others on double plays.The 39-year-old right-hander gave up eight hits, struck out six and stayed unbeaten in his last seven road outings."He didn't give us pitches with a whole heck of a lot of the plate," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Mike is capable of doing that. He bent but he didn't break."The Rangers entered the game with a major league-best 651 runs and led in most offensive categories, including hits and extra bases.But the lineup didn't help Scott Feldman (4-5), who also pitched well but couldn't keep pace with Mussina. He lasted seven innings, allowing seven hits and striking out four.Johnny Damon had a run-scoring single in the fifth, and Robinson Cano had three hits.Alex Rodriguez, booed again in his latest return to Texas, went hitless for the fourth straight night and finished the series 0-for-14.Jeter put the Yankees ahead by connecting on Feldman's second pitch. Jeter served as the designated hitter after Girardi decided his shortstop needed a rest, in part, from the scorching Texas heat.Jeter's homer would have been all the Yankees needed thanks to Mussina, who threw his second scoreless outing in his last four starts."It seems like every time he pitches, people come over and ask, 'How impressive was Moose today?" Jeter said. "He's been our most consistent guy over the course of the year."The Yankees left town with a 2-2 start to their 10-game road swing. Since coming to Texas on Monday, they have lost pitcher Joba Chamberlain to the 15-day disabled list and had a close call with newly acquired catcher Ivan Rodriguez.Chamberlain's timetable for a return is murky after he was diagnosed with rotator cuff tendinitis in his right shoulder.Rodriguez is expected back in the lineup Friday after bruising his right knee in a collision at home plate Wednesday with Rangers outfielder David Murphy. The Texas rookie got the worst of the crash and is expected to miss two to four weeks.
Marlon Byrd went 3-for-4 and had two doubles for the Rangers. ... Chamberlain is being sent to the team's complex in Florida for exercise and treatment. He's expected to begin a throwing program once the Yankees wrap up their road swing Aug. 13. ... Yankees OF Melky Cabrera is expected to return to the lineup Friday after sitting out the last four games. ... Rangers RHP Brandon McCarthy skipped a rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma for a bullpen session with team president Nolan Ryan. McCarthy, out since March and on the 60-day DL with right forearm inflammation, hopes to pitch again in September. Ryan corrected some flaws in McCarthy's mechanics. ... Texas DH Milton Bradley was out of the starting lineup for the ninth straight game due to a strained left quadriceps. He's expected to return this weekend in Baltimore.