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Yanks' Mussina wins fourth straight decision

8/17/2003

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The last time Mike Mussina pitched at Camden
Yards, he didn't make it out of the third inning.

This time, he was marvelous.

Mussina pitched a three-hitter to win his fourth straight
decision, and the New York Yankees completed a four-game sweep of
the Baltimore Orioles with an 8-0 victory Sunday.

Mussina (14-6) allowed only one runner past first base in his
21st career shutout. The right-hander struck out nine and walked
none in his first complete game of the season and 52nd of his
career.

It was a stark contrast from his performance on July 1, when he
gave up five runs and eight hits. It was also an extension of his
outing Tuesday, when he blanked Kansas City over eight innings in a
6-0 victory.

"You go through stretches where it doesn't seem like you ever
get a break. Then you go through stretches where everything goes
your way," Mussina said.

"I'm throwing the ball pretty well. I feel good," he said. "I
got a couple hit today right at people; you get breaks when things
are going right."

He retired his last 14 batters, five on strikeouts.

"The way this game goes, especially against this team, they
either put the ball in play or ... you just never know," Mussina
said.

Karim Garcia went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBI, and Derek
Jeter had three hits for the Yankees, who have won 14 of their last
16 games against Baltimore.

The victory enabled New York to go 5-2 on a trip that started
with two losses in three games in Kansas City.

"What started out as not so good of a road trip ended up as a
heck of a road trip," manager Joe Torre said.

New York hit eight home runs and outscored the Orioles 27-13 in
its first four-game sweep in Baltimore since May 2001.

"The first three games were tight, where a break here or there
makes it go the other way," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said.
"Today was all about Mike Mussina. I don't know if there are very
many people in the league who would be successful against him
today."

Baltimore has lost a season-high seven straight to fall nine
games under .500, tying a season high. The Orioles fell to 2-6
against Mussina, who left for New York in November 2000 after a
10-year run in Baltimore.

"He was hitting both sides of the plate today. This was the
best I've seen him pitch," said Deivi Cruz, who went 1-for-3.
"Every pitch he wanted to make, he made."

Mussina has won three straight starts and is unbeaten in six
outings since July 12.

"He certainly looked very relaxed. He gave us a tremendous
effort," Torre said.

The Yankees got a first-inning run off Rodrigo Lopez (5-8) when
Alfonso Soriano hit a leadoff double and scored on a single by
Jeter.

New York went up 4-0 in the fourth. After Jeter led off with a
single on an 0-2 pitch and Jason Giambi walked, Hideki Matsui hit a
run-scoring groundout. Lopez then issued a two-out intentional walk
to Jorge Posada before Aaron Boone and Garcia delivered RBI
singles.

Lopez allowed four runs and six hits in four innings. His eight
losses are just one fewer than he had all last season, when the
right-hander went 15-9 and finished second in AL Rookie of the Year
balloting.

Garcia homered off Rick Bauer in the seventh. Five of Garcia's
nine home runs this season have come against the Orioles.

"It's the luck of the draw," Garcia said. "I see the ball
good against them when I get the opportunity to play."

Bauer issued a bases-loaded walk in the eighth before Boone hit
a sacrifice fly and Garcia doubled in a run.

Game notes
New York released 3B Todd Zeile, who hit .210 in 66 games,
and called up RHP Jorge De Paula from Triple-A Columbus. Zeile
became expendable with the July 31 acquisition of Boone. ... Boone
has six RBI in his last three games after getting only one in his
first 12 games with New York. ... Soriano is 6-for-10 lifetime
against Lopez. ... Orioles rookie Jack Cust struck out three times,
capping a horrid weekend in which he was tagged out after falling
down during a rundown to end the game Saturday.