|The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez connects for his 25th home run in the third inning. (RAY STUBBLEBINE/REUTERS)|
Eight straight for NY
Rodriguez hits 25th HR in win
NEW YORK -- Mike Mussina won his first game in more than a month, Alex Rodriguez hit his major league-leading 25th homer, and the New York Yankees beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-2, last night to extend their season-high winning streak to eight.
Hideki Matsui hit a three-run homer and Jorge Posada also connected for New York (32-31), which has won 11 of its last 13 to move above .500 for the first time since April 20.
Mussina (3-3) allowed two runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings to earn his first win since he beat Texas May 9. He also became the first major league pitcher with 20 interleague wins, running his record to 20-10 in 40 starts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Mussina, who was 0-2 with three no-decisions over his previous five starts, yielded one run in six innings in his previous start against the Chicago White Sox but was lifted after just 79 pitches. Mussina said he was disappointed about being pulled, leading to a discussion between the pitcher and manager Joe Torre.
Mussina wondered whether he needed to earn back Torre's trust, but the manager said he explained that it was simply a strategic move.
There was no problem against the Diamondbacks, with Mussina throwing 101 pitches and getting plenty of support from New York's surging lineup. The Yankee Stadium crowd serenaded Mussina with chants of "Moooose" when he departed after a two-out single in the eighth, and the righthander acknowledged the standing ovation with a wave.
Brian Bruney and Mike Myers combined to finish up.
Mussina finished with a season-high seven strikeouts to earn his 242d win, moving into sole possession of 50th place on the career list. Juan Marichal is 49th with 243 wins.
Posada led off the second inning with his eighth homer and the 206th of his career, moving him into ninth place on the Yankees' list. Posada's drive gave him one more than Dave Winfield.
With a runner on first in the third, Rodriguez hit a Livan Hernandez pitch off the facade of the upper deck in left to make it 3-1. Rodriguez, who also singled in a run in the fourth, is batting .357 (15 for 42) with six homers and 21 RBIs in 12 games this month.
Hernandez (5-4) departed after allowing four runs in the fourth. He walked five and gave up nine hits.
Conor Jackson homered and Chris Young hit a sacrifice fly for Arizona, which has lost five of six.