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Archive for Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Yanks blank Royals

Mussina pitches eight shutout innings in win

August 13, 2003

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— With Mike Mussina in command of six or seven different pitches, he had little trouble taking command of Kansas City.

One day after the Royals rapped a team-record 11 doubles, Mussina held them to four hits in eight masterful innings Tuesday night and led New York to a 6-0 victory.

Jorge Posada was 4-for-5 as the American League East leaders snapped a three-game losing skid and stopped the AL Central leaders' three-game winning streak.

"I think the stuff was OK today," Mussina (13-6) said. "I thought I had pretty good life on my fastball. I threw some slow curves in there. But the splitter was useful again."

Mussina, raising his record to 13-6 lifetime against the Royals and 7-1 lifetime in Kauffman Stadium, struck out five and walked four. He said he had about six or seven pitches working for him.

"I can't tell you for sure. Some days I've got five or six and some days I'm thinking up more than that. It just depends on what's necessary."

His most important pitch might have come in the first inning. The Royals loaded the bases on Raul Ibanez's single and two two-out walks. But Desi Relaford took a called third strike on an inside fastball and the Royals would get only one more runner as far as third base against him.

"It could have been a completely different ballgame if Relaford gets a hit," said Mussina, who was replaced by Mariano Rivera starting the ninth.

"That was a big deal to get out of that jam and still have the lead. Last night was just a unique game. We all assumed today would be a more conventional ballgame."

New York first baseman Jason Giambi, left, tags out Kansas City's
Mike Sweeney for the final out in the eighth inning. Giambi was
forced to tag Sweeney when the throw from third baseman Aaron Boone
pulled him off the bag. The Yankees shut out the Royals, 6-0,
Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

New York first baseman Jason Giambi, left, tags out Kansas City's Mike Sweeney for the final out in the eighth inning. Giambi was forced to tag Sweeney when the throw from third baseman Aaron Boone pulled him off the bag. The Yankees shut out the Royals, 6-0, Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

Posada, who was 2-for-5 Monday night, had a homer, a double and two singles, with two RBIs and two runs scored. It was his ninth career four-hit game.

"Just keep swinging, keep grinding," he said. "Have good balance and a good approach. Today, it seemed like everything was there."



His solo homer off Darrell May (5-6) leading off the sixth put the Yankees up 4-0. His two-out double in the first scored Jason Giambi.

Posada singled leading off the fourth and eventually scored on Todd Zeile's sacrifice fly.

May went 7 1-3 innings and gave up five runs on 12 hits with one walk and one strikeout.

"Mussina works both sides of the plate with his fastball and he throws a good breaking ball," said Kansas City manager Tony Pena. "Our plan was to make him get the ball up. We did a good job of being patient but we just faced a real tough guy."

Pena said May for the most part pitched well.

"He made a couple of mistakes and he paid for it."

The Royals, who have reignited baseball interest in Kansas City, surpassed last year's entire home attendance total with Tuesday night's crowd of 37,820.

That brings their 2003 attendance to 1,357,101 with 21 home dates left. The 2002 Royals, while losing a franchise-record 100 games and missing the playoffs for the 17th straight year, drew 1,332,034.

Alfonso Soriano tripled leading off the third and scored on Derek Jeter's single for a 2-0 New York lead.

Nick Johnson had a pinch-hit RBI single off Al Levine in the eighth. In the ninth, Bernie Williams had an RBI single.

Relaford made a great catch in center field that resulted in a double play for the Royals in the third.

With Jeter on first after his RBI single, Williams hit a powerful drive into right-center. Relaford, who is regularly an infielder, made a one-handed running catch as Jeter reached third. The ball was relayed to first for the easy double play to end the inning.

Notes: LHP David Wells, who left Monday night's game after three innings with an ailing back, will undergo an MRI exam in New York on Wednesday. Sterling Hitchcock will take his next scheduled start on Saturday if Wells cannot go. ... The Royals designated 2B Carlos Febles for assignment on Tuesday and gave his roster spot to IF Mendy Lopez. ... Aaron Boone's eighth-inning single snapped an 0-for-17 skid.

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