Yankees slip past an old fan favorite

By Times wire
Published August 9, 2005

NEW YORK - Orlando Hernandez was always at his best in big games for the Yankees, so they knew exactly what type of effort it would take to beat him.

Mike Mussina outpitched his ex-teammate, and Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer off El Duque that sent New York to a 3-2 victory Monday night over the Chicago White Sox.

"You knew Duque is going to bend but not break," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He didn't give us much, but he walked a couple of guys. That was vintage Duque."

Mariano Rivera got his career-best 30th consecutive save, and the Yankees moved 10 games over .500 for the first time this season. They are 2-32 when scoring three or fewer and won for the fourth time in five games overall.

It was New York's first meeting this season with the Central-leading White Sox (72-39), who have the majors' best record.

"We did a lot of good things tonight. It was just a complete, clean ballgame for us," Torre said. "You're curious when you haven't faced a team that has a record like they do, to see how you match up to them. It makes you feel a little better about yourself."

Hernandez got a nice ovation from Yankees fans who remember all he accomplished during two stints in pinstripes from 1998-2004. The Cuban right-hander with the deceptive delivery went 61-40 for New York and 9-3 with a 2.65 ERA in the postseason.

"They are not my teammates anymore. My teammates are the ones here with me, the Chicago White Sox. It's another team now," Hernandez said. "I wanted this victory, like all of them. I don't like to lose."

Mussina struck out Jermaine Dye on his 122nd pitch with runners at second and third to end the sixth.

"I knew it was going to be my last hitter," Mussina said. "Today was the way we drew it up."

The right-hander allowed two runs and eight hits, striking out seven and walking none. Former Devil Ray Tanyon Sturtze and Tom Gordon each pitched a scoreless inning, setting up Rivera for his 30th save since blowing his first two this season against Boston.

"That was the first two games," said Rivera, who pitched a perfect ninth. "Even though a bunch of people had me retiring, I trust my stuff and I know who I am."

RED SOX 11, RANGERS 6: Tony Graffanino had three hits and showed rare power with a three-run homer that sparked host Boston in a game between baseball's best offenses.

David Ortiz hit his 26th homer, but the Red Sox got unusual contributions from the bottom four spots in their lineup, which combined for nine of the team's 12 hits.

Graffanino, batting eighth, had the best of his 14 games at second base since being acquired from Kansas City on July 19 to replace the injured Mark Bellhorn. He went 3-for-3, capped by the homer that made it 8-5 in the fifth, and was walked intentionally.

He twice slid into the plate to score, once from third on a wild pitch in the fourth that gave Boston a 5-4 lead and once from second in the three-run seventh on Johnny Damon's infield single.

TIGERS 9, BLUE JAYS 8 (12): Vance Wilson hit a go-ahead single in the 12th and visiting Detroit ended a three-game losing streak.

Dmitri Young led off the inning with a single off Scott Schoeneweis before advancing to third on Rondell White's double. Schoeneweis walked Craig Monroe to load the bases and struck out Brandon Inge for the second out.

Wilson followed with a high chopper to third baseman Aaron Hill, who couldn't field the ball, allowing Young to score the go-ahead run on what was ruled a single.

With the Tigers down 8-7 in the ninth, Omar Infante and Young hit consecutive singles before Magglio Ordonez tied it with a sacrifice fly off Miguel Batista, who blew his fourth save of the season.

MARINERS 5, TWINS 4: Jesse Crain walked Jeremy Reed with the bases loaded in the eighth to push across the tiebreaking run as host Seattle rallied.

The Mariners loaded the bases off Carlos Silva and Crain on singles by Ichiro Suzuki and Willie Bloomquist and a two-out intentional walk to Adrian Beltre. Reed's walk brought in Ichiro from third for his second RBI of the game.

National League

ROCKIES 4-5, MARLINS 3-3: Danny Ardoin hit a tiebreaking two-run homer, Byung-Hyun Kim won for the first time in seven starts and host Colorado completed a sweep.

Ardoin broke a tie at 3 in the sixth with his third home run of the season. Ryan Shealy went 3-for-3 and drove in a run in Game 2 and was 5-for-8 with two RBIs in the doubleheader.

In the first game, Dustan Mohr homered with two outs in the 11th to lift the Rockies. Ardoin's one-out squeeze bunt in the eighth drove in Cory Sullivan and tied it at 3.

REDS 9, CUBS 4: Brandon Claussen allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings and Ken Griffey hit a three-run homer as Cincinnati handed host Chicago its sixth straight loss.

Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns also homered for the Reds. Former Devil Ray Javier Valentin drove in three, two with a bases-loaded double off Cubs starter Jerome Williams in the second.

CARDINALS 8, BREWERS 4: Mark Grudzielanek homered and drove in a career-high five, leading visiting St. Louis. Grudzielanek also scored on Abraham Nunez's single off Matt Wise in the eighth that snapped a tie at 4.