Yanks win, but officially out

September 23, 2008 7:25:47 PM PDT
The New York Yankees will miss the postseason for the first time since starting their run in 1995.Mike Mussina pitched five shutout innings to earn his 19th win, Jason Giambi homered and the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 on Tuesday night.

It wasn't enough to keep New York's slim postseason hopes alive as Boston beat Cleveland 5-4 minutes before the Yankees win. The Red Sox win clinched at least the AL wild-card and eliminated the Yankees from postseason contention.

Mussina (19-9), who also won 19 games with Baltimore in 1995 and 1996, will try for a career-high 20th victory when he faces Boston at Fenway Park on Sunday in the final game of the regular season.

New York shortstop Derek Jeter didn't start because of a sore left hand, but came on as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning. This will be the first October that Jeter and the Yankees missed the playoffs in 13 years - a remarkable run, which included four World Series titles.

With his 269th career victory, Mussina moved past Jim Palmer into 33rd place on baseball's career list. Mussina has the most wins of any pitcher never to have a 20-win season.

The right-hander allowed four hits, walked none and struck out six.

Marco Scutaro hit a one-out double off Mussina in the first, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.

Mussina was struck on the right elbow by Travis Snider's line drive single in the third, with the ball ricocheting into foul territory between home plate and third base. Trainer Gene Monahan and manager Joe Girardi came out to check on Mussina, who declared himself fine after two practice pitches, then ended the inning with a 4-6-3 double play.

Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 38th save in 39 opportunities.

Blue Jays right-hander Jesse Litsch (12-9) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out a career-high eight.

New York opened the scoring in the second when Giambi singled, went to third on Xavier Nady's double and scored on Robinson Cano's grounder.

Giambi hit a one-out solo drive to right center in the fourth, his 32nd.

The Yankees made it 3-0 in the seventh when Cano doubled, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Gregg Zaun's passed ball.

Toronto scored a run in the seventh on Scott Rolen's RBI single, but Joba Chamberlain ended the threat by striking out Gregg Zaun and Snider.


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