Xavier Nady hit a ball to the moon in the fourth inning of last night's game. Well, it would have gone to the moon, but the catwalk suspended from the Tropicana Dome roof got in the way. That bomb gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead they wouldn't relinquish. The Bombers added two in the fifth, one in the sixth, and capped it off with Alex Rodriguez's 30th homer of the year leading off the eighth. Meanwhile, Mike Mussina scattered ten hits, allowing just two runs over six-plus innings, struck out ten and picked up his 17th win of the season, leaving him with five chances to get the three more wins he needs to set a career-high in that category.
Joba Chamberlain and Dan Giese both made strong returns from shoulder tendonitis. Chamberlain needed one pitch to kill a Rays rally in the seventh and working around a walk and a single for a scoreless eighth. Giese worked a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out Carlos Peña to seal the 7-2 Yankee win. Chamberlian's velocity was a bit down, but he said after the game that his mechanics were a bit out of whack from the time off and that he expected everything to fall into place in his subsequent outings. Most importantly, his shoulder felt just fine.
B.J. Upton made the play of the game on a drive by Rodriguez in the top of the second. Running full speed toward the wall in center, Upton snow-coned Rodriguez's line drive in the webbing of his glove before taking one step up the wall to slow his momentum. In the bottom of the inning, Eric Hinske made the boner of the game (in a game that had its share) when he raced around the bases for a triple while watching Nady and Johnny Damon chase after the ball in left center. Hinske slid safely into third base head first. Only then did he discover that Willy Aybar, who had singled before him, had been held up at third. Forced to vacate the base, Aybar was throw out easily at home. Hinske then failed to score on a subsequent groundout by Jason Bartlett, leaving the game scoreless entering the third inning.
Rodriguez's homer tied him with Mike Schmidt for 12th in major league history. Barring injury, he'll be chasing 600 this time next year.