Watching the Yankees play in Houston seems unreal like something out of a video game. The late afternoon light floods the place in odd, broken-patterns, and the Yankees' dark helmets and black socks have never looked as menacing or sharp. They actually look like Bronx Bombers. It was especially noticable on HD TV. Rodriguez and Giambi scoring on Jose Molina's clutch RBI single, the sun shining off their helmets. The YES replay used the angle behind the batter's box that looks up the third base line. It was really brilliant. Giambi's Porn Stach of Doom has never looked nastier--he's reaching Nick Nolte territory.
And Alex Rodriguez has looked absolutely terrifying. It's scary to think what he'd do if Houston was his home park. In his first at bat tonight, he sliced a fly ball over the fence in right, and he didn't even really get all of it. Hunter Pence narrowed his sights on the ball as it approached the wall in right and he timed his leap expertly. But an Astros fan wearing a red shirt went for the ball too, his glove knocked into Pence's mitt and Rodriguez had himself a dinger. It looked like a weak pop fly but he's so strong he was able to muscle it out. Scary.
The home run put the Yankees on the board after Mike Mussina gave up a three-run bomb to Carlos Lee in the bottom of the first. But Mussina didn't fold and he didn't allow another run, going six, and pitching long enough to leave with a 5-3 lead. Ross Ohlendorf (1 run), Kyle Farnsworth, and Edwar Ramirez finished it off and Mariano was able to take the night off. Johnny Damon had three hits and is batting .324, Melky had a couple of hits too, and Robbie Cano and Wilson Betemit each had pinch-hit RBIs. Let's hope this is the start of something for Cano.
The win puts the Yankees at 36-33, the first time they have been three games over .500 all season. It was career victory #260 for Mussina, his 10th of the year. Unless he completely melts down over his next couple of starts, he should be headed to the All-Star Game. How unlikely is that? Good for Mussina. He's earned it. 260 is an awful lot of wins. He's won ten or more games for seventeen straight years.