Everything the Yankees needed to go right in their first game of the second half of the season did. Mike Mussina pitched six innings of one-run ball, the bullpen pitched three innings of perfect relief, and the offense got in gear, dropping a seven-spot on the A's. As a result, the Yankees pulled even with Oakland in the AL Wild Card picture and gained a game on the Red Sox (thanks to the Angels who beat up on Clay Buchholz; not cooperating: the Rays, who beat A.J. Burnett 2-1).
Mussina scattered nine hits, walked none, struck out six, and threw 69 percent of just 93 pitches for strikes. David Robertson struck out the side on twelve pitches (all but one strikes) in the seventh. Edwar Ramirez threw nine of 11 pitches for strikes while striking out two in a perfect eighth. Even LaTroy Hawkins was dominant, getting two groundouts on his first four pitches, then striking out pinch-hitter Matt Murton to end the game.
As for the offense, new addition Richie Sexson got the Yankees on the board in his first pinstriped at-bat by plating Bobby Abreu from second with a single up the middle off A's lefty starter Greg Smith. Sexson struck out with two on and one out in his second at-bat in the third, but Robinson Cano picked him up with a game-breaking three-run homer. The Yanks then tacked on two more in the fourth on a Derek Jeter walk, a Bobby Abreu RBI double, and an RBI single from Alex Rodriguez, all of which came with two outs. A sixth-inning Alex Rodriguez homer off Dallas Braden pushed the final score to 7-1 Yanks.
Sexson's final tally was 1 for 3 with a walk, an RBI, a strikeout, and a double play. Abreu, Cano, and Melky Cabrera combined to go 6 for 13, each contributing a single and an extra-base hit. Alex Rodriguez went 3 for 4 with two RBIs, two runs scored (as well as a loud out at the plate on a reckless, first-inning-ending send by Bobby Meacham), a home run, and a stolen base. Derek Jeter and designated hitter Jorge Posada combined to walk five times in nine trips. Jose Molina and Brett Gardner combined to go 0 for 8, each with a strikeout (at least they were hitting eighth and ninth). Molina and Gardner (and that pesky Rays win) may have been the only things that didn't go right for the Yankees last night.