Series: Game 3 of 3

NY Yankees won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, May 18
NY Yankees0Final
in 11
Game 2: Wednesday, May 19
NY Yankees4Final
Game 3: Thursday, May 20
NY Yankees6Final

Yankees 6

(24-16, 11-9 away)

Angels 2

(26-15, 12-7 home)

    10:05 PM ET, May 20, 2004

    Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California 

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    NYY 101220000 6 11 0
    ANA 000100001 2 9 0

    W: M. Mussina (5-4)

    L: B. Colon (4-3)

    Mussina wins fourth consecutive start

    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Mike Mussina's struggles are over.

    He baffled the Anaheim Angels with his nasty breaking ball Thursday night, pitching the New York Yankees to a 6-2 victory. It was Mussina's fourth win in four starts after opening the year 1-4.

    "Things have gotten a lot better for me since the beginning of the season, and I just feel better being out there," Mussina said.

    "I feel like I know what I want to do and I can execute it. The beginning of the year was a struggle, but I just kept after it and things got better. The last couple of games I've been able to go out there in the seventh and eighth innings and throw the ball the way I threw it in the first and the second," he said.

    Mussina scattered seven hits and held the Angels to one run in 7 2-3 innings. He struck out six and didn't allow a walk, helping the Yankees move a half-game ahead of Boston in the AL East.

    "I had pretty good stuff from the beginning of the game, keeping the ball down, moving it in and out," Mussina said. "I was able to get almost all my pitches over for strikes and threw off-speed pitches in fastball counts."

    Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia, whose team scored only five runs in losing two of three to the Yankees, was impressed by Mussina's performance.

    "He looked like vintage Mussina. He had his good curveball working, threw some off-speed stuff, spotted his fastball well," Scioscia said.

    Mussina improved his career record to 204-114.

    Hideki Matsui hit a two-run homer in the fourth off Bartolo Colon (4-3). Derek Jeter had a solo shot in the third.

    New York took two of three from the Angels, its seventh consecutive series win since being swept at home by Boston in a three-game set April 23-25. The Yankees also took two of three against Anaheim last week in the Bronx.

    "We've been playing extremely well," Jeter said. "We've been pitching well, playing good defense and the guys have been swinging the bats pretty good.

    "So right now I like what I see."

    Mussina (5-4) has not allowed a home run in his last four starts after giving up one homer in each of his first six outings. He has walked only three batters in his last 28 2-3 innings.

    The Yankees rocked Colon for six runs and nine hits in five innings. He struck out four and walked one.

    It was the second rough outing in a row for Colon, who gave up five runs in five innings in the Angels' 10-9, 10-inning win at Baltimore last Friday.

    He said tightness in his back during his start in Baltimore wasn't really a factor against the Yankees, but added: "My location has been bad and I've been high in the strike zone."

    Colon, speaking through a translator, also said, "The Yankees did a good job of hammering my high pitches, something they should do if I'm high in the zone."

    Matsui drove a 94 mph fastball over the wall in center for his sixth homer. Jeter, who came into the game batting .187, hit a shot over the fence in left for his third of the season.

    Alex Rodriguez opened the scoring for the Yankees with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Jorge Posada added a two-run double in the fifth.

    Paul Quantrill got the last out of the eighth, then gave up an RBI single Casey Kotchman in the ninth.

    Anaheim's Ramon Ortiz, sent to the bullpen after struggling as a starter, relieved Colon and struck out Bernie Williams, Rodriguez and Jason Giambi in order in the seventh. Ortiz retired 12 of his 14 batters.

    Game notes

    Angels C Bengie Molina was hit in the knee by a foul ball in the sixth inning and was replaced by Josh Paul in the seventh. ... Rodriguez singled in the fifth to reach base for the 29th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the majors this year. ... Jeter's single leading off the game ended his 0-for-17 skid, and the hit was only his second in 27 at-bats. He earlier went through a 0-for-32 slump.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press