Mussina wins; Abreu sparks rally

May 30, 2008 8:27:17 PM PDT
Bobby Abreu tripled twice and scored all four times he reached base, backing Mike Mussina and igniting a New York Yankees rally past the Minnesota Twins for a 6-5 victory on Friday night.Abreu tied his career high with those four runs, helping Mussina (8-4) overcome a four-run first inning for his seventh win in eight starts. Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui and Melky Cabrera each had three hits and two RBIs for further support.

Justin Morneau began the eighth with a homer against Kyle Farnsworth, the new setup man for Mariano Rivera with Joba Chamberlain now in the rotation. But Rivera stayed perfect with his 14th save in as many tries, by pitching a scoreless ninth and striking out pinch-hitter Craig Monroe with a runner on first to end the game.

Twins starter Glen Perkins (2-2) lost his early 4-1 lead when Rodriguez doubled in Abreu to make it 5-4 Yankees with none out in the fifth. That was his last batter after 10 hits, two walks and no strikeouts - a clear step back after switching spots with the struggling Boof Bonser to stay on his regular rest pattern.

Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Delmon Young hit consecutive bases-loaded singles and Mike Lamb knocked in another run with a fielder's choice grounder in the first, but the home-team excitement ended after that.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, assessing his aging and injury-ravaged club before the game, said this: "We're not buried, so that's a good thing."

Indeed, though they began the weekend still in last place in the AL East, they're only one hot week from joining the race. Chamberlain will start Tuesday, and catcher Jorge Posada is expected back soon.

Mussina, after a rough 2007 season, is one of the guys who have kept the team from collapsing. He's 7-1 in his last eight starts after picking up career victory No. 258. Twenty-one of those have come against Minnesota, the most in the majors by an active pitcher.

Like his last outing, Mussina had one bad inning - this time, it came right away - but wiggled his way out of it while throwing a season-high 109 pitches over six innings. Two of the runs were unearned, and he struck out four with only one walk and six hits.