Pavano wins in Yankee return

August 23, 2008 7:30:51 PM PDT
Carl Pavano waited a long time for such a short outing, yet the oft-injured Yankees pitcher hung around long enough to pick up the win Saturday night in New York's 5-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Pitching in the major leagues for the first time since April 2007, Pavano (1-0) allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings. The right-hander walked one, hit two batters and struck out five in his 91-pitch effort.

It was Pavano's 20th start with the Yankees since signing a four-year, $39.95 million contract before the 2005 season. Only three of those appearances have come since June 2005; his latest injury resulted in elbow ligament replacement surgery last June and a 14-month rehabilitation period.

Pavano (1-0) never stopped working to get back to the majors, and his return comes at a time when the pitching-starved Yankees are longing to fill a rotation without Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain. Pavano last won a game in the majors on April 9, 2007. His last win before that was on May 25, 2005.

Brian Bruney followed Pavano with two innings of one-hit ball. Jose Veras worked the eighth and Mariano Rivera got three outs for his 30th save in 31 tries.

Jason Giambi hit his 25th homer and drove in three runs, and Hideki Matsui had a solo shot for his 500th career RBI.

Both homers came off Jeremy Guthrie (10-10), who gave up five runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.

The Yankees went up 2-0 in the first when Alex Rodriguez hit an RBI double and scored on a single by Giambi.

Baltimore got three hits in the bottom half, but a double play helped Pavano escape without allowing a run. He wasn't as fortunate in the second inning, when the Orioles used three hits and a walk to go up 3-2.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Juan Castro hit a sacrifice fly. Brian Roberts followed with a run-scoring grounder and Nick Markakis added an RBI single. Melvin Mora then struck out, and that's when things got a little weird.

Mora walked away from the plate in disgust, then realized catcher Ivan Rodriguez didn't hold the third strike and started jogging around the bases, stopping at second as the Yankees ran off the field. But Mora was ruled out by plate umpire Joe West for walking toward the dugout after the strikeout.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley argued with such fervor that West ejected him from the game.

New York regained the lead in the third when Guthrie hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch and Giambi followed by hitting a 3-2 delivery into the center-field seats.

Matsui hit his ninth homer of the season leading off the seventh, his second since coming off the disabled list.

Notes: To make room for Pavano, the Yankees optioned LHP Billy Traber to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. ... Giambi's 202 homers with the Yankees tie him with Bill Dickey for 13th place on the franchise list. ... Orioles C Ramon Hernandez extended his hitting streak to 13 games, tying a career high. ... Rivera has 11 seasons with at least 30 saves, including six straight.