Mike Mussina cruised into the sixth inning last night, holding the Blue Jays scoreless while striking out a season-high six men. With two out and Alex Rios on first via Mussina's only walk of the game in the sixth, he appeared to strike out Alex Rios Scott Rolen, but home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor didn't deliver the punch out. Rios walked and scored on a Scott Rolen doubled Rios home, but that was all the Blue Jays would get all night as Ross Ohlendorf, Kyle Farnsworth, and Mariano Rivera each turned in a scoreless inning to nail down a 5-1 Yankee win and deliver Mussina's ninth win of the year.
The Yankee scoring started in the third inning when Jose Molina and Johnny Damon singled off Toronto starter Jesse Litsch and Derek Jeter plated Molina with a single that pushed the captain past Mickey Mantle on the all-time hit list. The Yanks got two more in the fourth on a Wilson Betemit homer, a Robinson Cano double, and a Melky Cabrera homer single, all of which came with two outs. After Litch left the game, the Yanks added a run in the sixth (which was charged to Litsch) and one more in the seventh to set the final score.
It was a nice easy win that saw the four Yankee pitchers combine to strike out nine Jays and allow just one run on six hits and a walk. It was particularly encouraging to see Ohlendorf pitch well in short relief and pick up a hold, as that's the role he was intended to fill back in spring training and a role in which he's now very much needed.
As for the offense, consider the fact that Roy Halladay and Jesse Litsch had allowed a total of two runs in their last two starts combined totaling 33 innings, but the Yankees scored six runs off them in 11 1/3 combined innings over the last two nights and get Jorge Posada back today. The Yankees also pulled a half game ahead of the Orioles and can get back to .500 and win this series with a victory this afternoon.