Yankees Enjoy Sweet Sweep Over Rangers

Friday, May 4th 2007, 7:11 am
By: News On 6

Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte had strong starts, and closer Mariano Rivera came through twice as New York beat Texas 4-3 and 5-2 on Thursday to sweep a doubleheader and a three-game series from the Rangers.

``Pitching does that to you,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. ``It gives you a better personality as a team when you know you've got guys out there controlling the game somewhat.''

The bullpen didn't hold the lead for Pettitte, but held it for Mussina in his return from the disabled list. With Hideki Matsui hitting a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning of the opener and Doug Mientkiewicz supplying an early two-run homer in the second game, the Yankees matched their longest winning streak of the season at three.

It's also the first time the Yankees have held an opponent to three or less runs in three straight games this season.

``We had a little extra attitude this week,'' Mientkiewicz said. ``Not that we were freaking out, but it was like, `Let's put our foot on the gas a little bit.'''

In other AL games, it was: Kansas City 5, Los Angeles 2; Cleveland 6, Toronto 5; Tampa Bay 6, Minnesota 4; and Boston 8, Seattle 7.

Mussina (1-1) threw 64 pitches in his first appearance since straining a hamstring on April 11. He allowed one run and four hits in five innings in his return to the Yankees' injury-depleted pitching staff.

``It was a good day,'' Mussina said. ``I wish I could have pitched longer, but considering I've been off for a while, it's not bad.''

Rivera saved two games in one day for the fifth time in his major league career, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and the first since Sept. 29, 2004, against Minnesota. Rivera, who has three saves in five chances, pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the opener but allowed a pair of singles leading off the ninth in the second game before striking out Gerald Laird and getting Kenny Lofton to ground into a double play.

New York (12-14), which moved ahead of Baltimore and out of last in the AL East, headed home for a four-game weekend series against Seattle. Because of the injuries to the starting staff, Darrell Rasner and Matt DeSalvo are scheduled to start the final two games against the Mariners _ DeSalvo will be the 10th starter for the Yankees in their first 30 games, a major league first, according to Elias.

Since owner George Steinbrenner said the team's start was ``clearly not acceptable,'' the Yankees have gone 3-0.

Texas has lost five straight and is last in the AL West.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 7

In Boston, Manny Ramirez homered twice, including a tiebreaking drive in the eighth off Chris Reitsma (0-1).

Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled with his control, and trailed 5-0 after the first inning. Boston came back to take a 7-5 lead then allowed Seattle to retie it before Ramirez hit his 475th homer. Ramirez also hit a two-run homer in the fourth that gave Boston a 7-5 lead.

Brendan Donnelly (1-1) got the win two days after his first loss in 10 decisions since Aug. 12, 2005. J.C. Romero got three outs for his first save.

Royals 5, Angels 2

In Kansas City, Mo., Gil Meche (3-1) allowed two hits in seven innings, retiring 17 straight after Vladimir Guerrero's two-run homer in the first.

Brandon Duckworth and rookie Joakim Soria finished the three-hitter, with Soria pitching the ninth for his fifth save. The victory gave Kansas City a split of the four-game series.

Jered Weaver (1-3) matched his career high with nine strikeouts, but gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings.

Indians 6, Blue Jays 5

In Cleveland, Grady Sizemore hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth, and Cleveland rallied from a 4-0 deficit to complete a three-game sweep.

Victor Martinez had four hits for Cleveland, which trailed 4-0 in the third inning of Cliff Lee's first start of the season but came back for its 10th win in 11 games following a 7-7 start.

Mike Rouse singled with two outs in the eighth against Jason Frasor (1-1). Josh Barfield singled Rouse to third and Sizemore hit a 3-2 pitch to right-center, with the ball bouncing into the stands. Aaron Fultz (3-0) pitched the eighth, and Joe Borowski finished for his 10th save.

Devil Rays 6, Twins 4

In St. Petersburg, Fla., James Shields (3-0) gave up three runs and nine hits over 7 1-3 innings and Rocco Baldelli had a two-run homer.

Shields worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fifth by striking out Joe Mauer and getting Justin Morneau to hit into a double play.

Baldelli homered off Ramon Ortiz (3-2) during a four-run third that put the Devil Rays ahead 4-1. Al Reyes pitched the ninth for his 10th save.