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AL: Gem keeps Mussina perfect

By Associated Press
Published May 2, 2003

NEW YORK - When Mike Mussina struck out All-Stars Ichiro Suzuki, Randy Winn and Bret Boone to start the game, it was fairly obvious: The Moose was loose again.

Mussina matched a career high with his eighth straight win, backed by home runs from Alfonso Soriano and Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera earned his first save as the Yankees defeated the Mariners 2-1 Thursday night.

"I threw the ball well in the first inning and tried to keep it going and keep it close," he said.

Mussina became the first Yankees pitcher to win his first six starts since Bob Turley won seven straight in 1958 in his Cy Young Award season.

Mussina leads the majors in victories, and his nine strikeouts boosted his league-leading total to 51. Showing exceptional control of his curve, he gave up six hits and walked none in eight innings, improving his ERA to 1.60.

"When you're pitching with guys the caliber of (Roger) Clemens, (Andy) Pettitte, (David) Wells and (Jeff) Weaver, you've got to turn it up a notch or you're going to get left behind," he said.

Mussina had won eight regular-season games in a row twice, most recently with Baltimore in 1997.

Mariners manager Bob Melvin has seen plenty of Mussina over the years. In 1991 Melvin was Baltimore's catcher when Mussina made his major-league debut.

"This year he's been phenomenal, throwing all of his pitches and getting them where he wants them," Melvin said.

"He's a tough guy to set on when he has everything working. When he's got his command, he's a tough customer."

ORIOLES 5-6, TIGERS 2-4: Baltimore swept a doubleheader with a pitcher who didn't throw a pitch and against one who didn't allow a hit through seven innings.

"It really is unbelievable," Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. "We've all said it, if you've been in this game, you've never seen it all. But my gosh, what happened is tough to swallow."

In the second game, Jay Gibbons broke up Mike Maroth's no-hit bid with a leadoff single in the eighth and the visiting Orioles scored six with two outs in the inning.

In the opener, Gibbons hit a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth as Baltimore rallied.

"Very bizarre day," Gibbons said.

B.J. Ryan earned the first win without throwing a pitch after he picked off Omar Infante at first when he relived Pat Hentgen with two outs in the seventh.

RED SOX 6, ROYALS 5: Todd Walker's run-scoring double in the eighth sent host Boston to a three-game sweep.

Kansas City has dropped four straight and five of six after getting off to a franchise-best 17-4 start. Mike Sweeney, Carlos Beltran and Raul Ibanez homered for the Royals.

Trot Nixon homered for the Red Sox, who won their fourth straight and second in a row in their last at-bat.

WHITE SOX 7, A'S 5: Magglio Ordonez went 3-for-5 with a home run and Miguel Olivo homered as host Chicago avoided a sweep.

Paul Konerko had two RBIs and Frank Thomas, Carlos Lee and Tony Graffanino drove in runs for the White Sox, who won for the fourth time in the past 11 games. AL MVP Miguel Tejada, dropped to fifth in the lineup because of a slow start, homered for the first time in more than a week for Oakland.

BLUE JAYS 7, RANGERS 6: Roy Halladay won his first game and host Toronto overcame four Texas homers, including Rafael Palmeiro's 498th. Juan Gonzalez hit two homers, giving him a major league-leading 11, and Carl Everett hit his 10th for the Rangers, who nearly rallied from five down to win.

ANGELS AT INDIANS, PPD.: The series finale was rained out and not immediately rescheduled.

[Last modified May 2, 2003, 02:31:39]


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