ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The New York Yankees are feeling good after completing a rugged road trip with a winning record.
Mike Mussina shut down the Angels, Hideki Matsui hit a two-run homer off Jarrod Washburn and the Yankees won 4-1 on Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep. Headed home for the first time since the All-Star break, New York went 6-5 on its trip to Boston, Texas and Los Angeles."Two weeks ago, if you had told us that we'd come out of this trip 6-5, I think we'd feel pretty good about it," said Mussina, who held the Angels to one run in 6 1/3 innings. "It was three tough teams for us, two first-place teams, three different time
zones. But if we didn't come through and win this game, it would have been disappointing after winning three out of four in Boston and two of three in Texas."Mussina (10-5) allowed seven hits, struck out four and walked two."Washburn was pitching his tail off, but Moose was matching him," New York manager Joe Torre said. "He was something."He got himself in trouble and pitched out of some jams. He had to work hard today, and it was hot out there. But he knew what we needed today and he gave us every bit of it," he said.Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said the Angels had a few chances to put up more runs, but there was a reason they didn't."Give Mussina credit," Scioscia said. "He made good pitches when he had to. He knows how to get guys out."The Yankees go home to face Minnesota in a three-game series beginning Tuesday night and then host the Angels for three.New York is 1½ games behind the first-place Red Sox in the AL East and a half-game back of the Twins and Athletics in the wild-card race.The Yankees have played much better after struggling early this season, and Gary Sheffield said they've remained confident and determined."We've come together, even when everybody had written us off, we always still believed that we could get the job done," the slugger said. "We probably had two dozen meetings, more than we had last year, and I just felt that it was different."It was more like, 'Wow, this is serious, we're struggling and it might go one way or the other.' And it was up to the players to make it go the right way," he said.Mariano Rivera got five outs for his 25th save in a row since blowing his first two opportunities of the season against Boston. He has saved each of New York's last eight victories.Jason Giambi, plunked by Washburn one pitch after Matsui's 17th homer in the seventh inning, scored from third to make it 3-1 when Tino Martinez beat out a potential double-play ball. New York added a run in the ninth on an RBI double by Martinez.Washburn (6-6) limited the Yankees to one hit, Robinson Cano's double in the fourth inning, until they got to him in the seventh. The left-hander allowed three runs and five hits in 7 2/3 innings, with three strikeouts and a walk. He plunked Giambi twice.Washburn said he got "too much of the plate" on the pitch Matsui hit out. Washburn still liked the way the Angels played during the series."Any time you take three out of four from those guys, you're doing something right," he said.The Angels, trying to sweep the Yankees for the first time in a four-game series, got their only run in the first inning, when Chone Figgins scored on Vladimir Guerrero's groundout.Mussina got out of a jam in the seventh, when the Angels had runners at first and second with one out. With the runners going and third baseman Alex Rodriguez moving to cover the bag, Darin Erstad hit a sharp grounder right at him. Rodriguez stepped on the bag and threw to first to complete the inning-ending double play.
The Yankees have 14 home runs in their last five games and 41 in their past 17. They hit eight during the series in Anaheim. ... Cano extended his hitting streak to 13 games, a team high this year. ... All the games in the series were sellouts, with the total attendance of 176,219 (44,032 for the finale) a high at home for the Angels for a four-game set. ... Los Angeles third baseman Dallas McPherson will report to Arizona and face his first live batting practice since going on the DL on July 8 with inflammation in his left hip. ... New York right-hander Kevin Brown left the team early to have his ailing back checked by a doctor in Colorado. Torre said Brown, who will rejoin the team in New York, was OK. ... Yankees left-hander Randy Johnson, who left Thursday's game with a twinge in his back, said he will be able to make his next scheduled start, Tuesday night against Minnesota.