Mike Mussina felt a minor strain his right groin in the first inning last night but it didn’t effect his performance on the mound. Mussina was particularly sharp and through four innings did not allow a hit. But an expected thunderstorm delayed the game for just over an hour and it was enough time to knock Mussina out of the game. He later told the New York Times:
“It’s tough; those four innings went really well,” Mussina said. “But after all these years, I know it’s a lot safer to do it the way we did it, and a lot smarter to do it the way we did it.
“Trying to get one win versus maybe costing yourself a long period of time, it’s not worth it. With what we’re trying to accomplish, it could really be detrimental. We have enough injury problems as it is.”
Mussina plans to make his next start. El Duque returned after the showers and pitched admirably, just as I hoped and expected, changing speeds beautifully. His ten-pitch strike out of Johnny Damon in the fifth was terrific (got him looking on an inside fastball at the knees). Jason Giambi hit a towering solo home run in the first and Andy Phillips singled Williams home immediately after the rain delay. It was all the runs the Yankees would need. Ron Villone pitched two scoreless innings. Even more encouraging for the Yankees was the efficient relief work from Scott Procter, Kyle Farnsworth and Mariano Rivera. All told, the Mets reached base on a walk, an error and a lone single by Endy Chavez (who was picked off of first by Villone). The Yankees won 2-0, and gained a game on Boston who lost to the Marlins.