Yanks snap Angels 5-game winning streak

Yankees 8, Angels 2
August 2, 2008 5:06:00 PM PDT
Mike Mussina got a big assist from his catcher and shut down the surging Angels. Mussina retired the final 17 batters he faced in seven solid innings, Jose Molina hit one of New York's four home runs and the Yankees snapped Los Angeles' five-game winning streak with an 8-2 victory Saturday.

After two nights of being outclassed by the Angels in every aspect of the game, the Yankees rebounded with a complete win of their own despite missing Robinson Cano from the starting lineup.

Alex Rodriguez, Wilson Betemit and Bobby Abreu all homered and Mussina, a six-time Gold Glove winner, made several stellar plays on the mound to help the Yankees to their second victory in seven games, and a win in front of 54,170 fans on Old-Timers' Day.

Molina, catching Mussina in his first start since the Yankees acquired Ivan Rodriguez on Wednesday, scored three times and went 3-for-3, including his first home run since Sept. 5 - a span of 221 at-bats.

Playing without center fielder Torii Hunter, who traveled home to Pine Bluff, Ark., on Saturday morning to attend the funeral of his grandmother, Edna Cobbs, the Angels dropped to 12-3 after the All-Star break. Los Angeles was also without shortstop Maicer Izturis, who jammed his thumb making a spectacular play in Friday's 1-0 win.

The Yankees looked as if they were headed for another woeful outing against the team with the best record in baseball. They dropped behind 2-0 in the second inning thanks to fill-in second baseman Betemit's throwing error. And the first four New York batters struck out against Jered Weaver, three looking.

But Jason Giambi popped out to break the strikeout spell and Xavier Nady followed with a two-out single to right. Betemit then made up for his error with a tying two-run shot.

Bouncing back from giving up six runs against Baltimore on Monday, Mussina (14-7) was dominant after loading the bases on two hits and a walk, and giving up two runs - one earned - in the second. Had Betemit completed the double-play turn, Mussina would have gotten out of the inning without allowing a run.

With the bases loaded, Mussina got Jeff Mathis, who had not grounded into a double play in 203 at-bats, to hit a routine grounder to third. Alex Rodriguez made the throw to second for an out, but Betemit's relay to first was in the dirt and the ball bounced out of Giambi's mitt allowing Howie Kendrick to score the second run.

In the field, Mussina snared a sharp comebacker to start the game, pounced on a bunt in the third and handled another hard-hit grounder in the fourth.

Jose Veras struck out three in a hitless eighth and Brian Bruney gave up a hit in the ninth to finish the three-hitter.

Abreu homered in the third, Molina connected in the fifth and A-Rod led off the sixth with the 542nd homer of his career and 24th of the season.

Weaver (9-9) allowed six runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. He struck out five and walked one. Notes: Willie Randolph received one of the loudest ovations from fans during Old-Timers' Day introductions. Randolph won six World Series titles as a player and coach with New York. He was fired as manager of the New York Mets in June. ... Angels catcher Mike Napoli, on the DL retroactive to June 6 with right shoulder irritation, played five innings for Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday night. Manager Mike Scioscia said Napoli needs four or five starts before being activated.