5/14/2008 10:05:00 PM

Moose Cruises, Joba Confuses, Mariano Defuses

Posted by Mark McCray |

Bryan Hoch/MLB.Com:

Hank Steinbrenner may not have been shy about his phone calls, but the more important event for the Yankees was hearing those Moose calls.

Mike Mussina won his fifth consecutive start Wednesday night for the Yankees, who snapped a short two-game skid by limiting the Rays to one run over 6 1/3 innings. Robinson Cano had four hits, including an RBI, and Bobby Abreu also drove in a run, leading New York to a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field.

The resurgent right-hander was sharp once more, mixing his pitches and spotting his offspeed stuff with command over an 87-pitch performance, scattering five hits. Mussina walked one and struck out four, lowering his ERA to 3.99. The performance came hours after manager Joe Girardi held the first closed-door clubhouse meeting of his tenure, and on the same day that Steinbrenner issued comments criticizing the club's sluggish 19-21 start.

Mussina started the seventh inning and recorded the first out, but was lifted after a walk to Evan Longoria, earning a mixture of Moose calls from the Tropicana Field crowd. Cliff Floyd greeted reliever Ross Ohlendorf with a single, and Dioner Navarro shot a run-scoring hit up the middle, but Ohlendorf escaped the inning when Gabe Gross lined to Derek Jeter for a deftly turned double play, nabbing Floyd off the bag.

After scoring just twice in their previous 24 innings entering the game, the Yankees touched Rays right-hander James Shields for runs in both the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, Hideki Matsui rapped a two-out double up the gap in left-center and scored on Cano's single to center; in the fifth, Morgan Ensberg led off with a single, moved up on a sacrifice and scored on Abreu's two-out double.


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