|Yankees ace Mike Mussina says he didn't have his best stuff, but what he had was good enough for his fifth victory in seven starts. (RONALD MARTINEZ/Getty Images)|
Mussina earns 15th victory
Yankees shut down Rangers to gain split
Mike Mussina didn't even throw his best stuff, and he still shut down the most powerful offense in the majors.
The New York Yankees might take that as a sign of things turning around.
Mussina pitched seven sharp innings for his 15th win, and the Yankees beat the Rangers, 3-0, last night in Arlington, Texas, to gain a four-game split before starting their next road series against the AL-leading Los Angeles Angels.
Mussina (15-7) threw seven scoreless innings to shut down the highest-scoring offense in the majors. He matched Cleveland's Cliff Lee for most wins in the American League and got his fifth victory in seven starts.
"I didn't have my best stuff today," Mussina said.
Then how did he help the Yankees become just the second team this season to shut out the Rangers?
"I don't know. I just kept going with what I had."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was more impressed.
"They obviously have a very, very good offensive club," Girardi said, "and Moose shut them down."
The Yankees won for the second consecutive night and moved within three games of idle Boston in the wild-card race, while the Rangers dropped to 3 1/2 games behind New York.
Dodgers 4, Cardinals 1 - Clayton Kershaw worked seven dominant innings and Manny Ramírez homered for the fourth time in six games with Los Angeles, which averted a three-game sweep with a victory over 13-game winner Kyle Lohse in St. Louis.
Ramírez is 13 for 23 with nine RBIs since joining the Dodgers. His 514th career homer was a two-run shot in the third off a first-pitch fastball from Lohse, putting the Dodgers ahead, 3-0.
Kershaw allowed only three singles while matching his season best with seven strikeouts and working around four walks.
Marlins 3, Phillies 0 - Chris Volstad tossed six sharp innings and combined with four relievers on a four-hitter, leading visiting Florida over Philadelphia.
The Marlins took two of three from the NL East-leading Phillies to move within 1 1/2 games of first place. The New York Mets are two games behind.
Mariners 2, Rays 1 - Raul Ibanez lined a pitch from Dan Wheeler inside the right-field foul pole, host Seattle's first game-ending home run in its lost season, and the Mariners beat AL East-leading Tampa Bay.
Ibanez's fourth career walkoff home run prompted a wild, on-field celebration by the team with the AL's worst record. On-deck batter Adrian Beltre threw his batting helmet into the air the moment the ball left the bat of Ibanez, who has 16 RBIs in his last five games.
Tampa Bay began a season-long, 10-game road trip by losing for just the second time in nine games, trimming its division lead to 2 1/2 games over the idle Red Sox and 5 1/2 over the Yankees.
Blue Jays 6, Athletics 4 - A.J. Burnett (14-9) won his fourth straight start and host Toronto extended Oakland's losing streak to 10 games.
Joe Inglett drove in the go-ahead run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, helping Toronto finish a four-game sweep.
Tigers 8, White Sox 3 - Miguel Cabrera and Curtis Granderson homered and Ryan Raburn made a nice catch to shut off a late Chicago rally, helping visiting Detroit snap a six-game skid.
Zach Miner (6-4) allowed seven hits and two runs - one earned - in six innings. Fernando Rodney got the final four outs to get his second save in six chances.
Astros 7, Reds 4 - Hunter Pence hit a three-run homer, Roy Oswalt once again shut down Cincinnati, and visiting Houston beat the reeling Reds.
Carlos Lee went 3 for 3 and drove in two runs and Miguel Tejada and Lance Berkman also had three hits each, helping Oswalt improve to 21-1 in his career against the Reds.
Nationals sweep Rockies, 6-3, 6-3 - Lastings Milledge capped a big day with two hits and Odalis Perez pitched six strong innings to lead Washington past Colorado in the second game for a doubleheader sweep with identical scores in Denver.
In the first game, Milledge went 3 for 4 with two homers and a career-high four RBIs, and Jason Bergmann earned his first win in nearly three months in Washington's 6-3 victory.
Joel Hanrahan saved both games of the doubleheader, giving him three saves this season.
Braves 6, Diamondbacks 4 - Mark Kotsay homered and Charlie Morton threw seven shutout innings as Atlanta beat Arizona in Phoenix.
Mets 5, Padres 3 - David Wright hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning after the bullpen blew another late lead for Johan Santana, lifting host New York over San Diego.