Mike Mussina got Nyjer Morgan to strike out looking on a curveball. Mussina was hitting 85 m.p.h. with his fastball in this at-bat. Mussina retires the side in order. He induced a pop up to right and a fly out to center. His fastball didn't reach past 86 m.p.h.
Billy Crystal walked up to the plate to "Birthday" by The Beatles. He made contact, fouling a pitch to the right side, and the fans screamed. He worked the count to 3-1 but swung and missed at the last two pitches to strike out. The real Yankees, Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu, go down in order to end the inning.
Mussina gets Jason Bay to fly out to Abreu on an 88 m.p.h. fastball. That's good to see. Hideki Matsui catches an easy fly ball in left for his first putout of the spring. It was a little harder for Matsui this time. He had to run towards the foul line to catch Ryan Doumit's fly ball. Mussina is perfect through two.
The Yankees also get set down in order. Through two full innings, there hasn't be a baserunner. It's all Crystal's fault.
Mussina has looked very good so far. Through two outs in the third, he has thrown 33 pitches for 21 strikes. Shelley Duncan made a nice grab towards the line at first and flipped it to Mussina for the final out of the inning.
Jose Molina singles with one out to break up the overall perfect game. Johnny Damon is pinch hitting for Crystal (I never thought I'd ever have to write that). Damon grounds out to end the inning.
Mussina worked back from a 3-1 count to get Jack Wilson to fly out. Aside from this at-bat, Mussina has been throwing strikes and has been getting ahead of hitters. As I say that, he got ahead of Nate McLouth 0-2, but started to nibble. McLouth grounded out to first on a full count, keeping Mussina's perfect game in tact.
Alex Rodriguez almost hit Robin Williams will a foul ball. Abreu and Rodriguez struck out looking, while Jeter hit a line drive that was caught by a diving McLouth.
Mussina, at 52 pitches for 32 strikes, is out for a fifth inning of work. Bay grounded out to Jeter for the first out of the inning. Mussina got Adam LaRoche looking for the second out. The pitch looked a tad inside, but Mussina still got the call. Doumit worked the count to 3-1 before swinging and popping a pitch up to Jeter for the third out. Mussina is past 60 pitches and has retired all 15 batters he has faced.
Old friend Jaret Wright follows Paul Maholm. Matsui hit a leadoff double and was taken out for pinch runner Justin Christian. Robinson Cano hit a chopper to short that was slow enough to advance Christian to third with one out. Duncan hit a medium fly ball to left that wasn't far enough to score Christian. Molina broke his bat on a grounder to the right side to end the inning. I see the Yankees are still afraid to score on sacrifice flies, even in the spring.
Mussina came out of the game after throwing 64 pitches for 39 strikes. Figures Mariano Rivera gave up a single to the first batter he faced. He then gave up another single. These were the Pirates' first two batters of the game and the first two batters to reach base against Rivera this spring. The Pirates put on a sacrifice bunt play, and it was successful. Second and third, one out against Rivera. Morgan hit a hard grounder to Duncan. He checked Jose Bautista at third and tagged the bag for the second out. Bautista started running and turned back. Duncan threw home and had him caught in a run down and was eventually tagged out. Rivera escaped unharmed.
After Melky Cabrera singled, the rest of the Yankees went quietly. The game is still scoreless.
Jeff Karstens followed Rivera. McLouth hit a one-out double down the right field line. Bay followed and hit a single to left, scoring McLouth. 1-0 Pirates. Former buddy Doug Mientkiewicz hit a single, the third consecutive hit for the Pirates. Doumit was up next and hit another single to center. Brett Gardner made a strong throw in from center to cut down Bay, as Chad Moeller blocked the plate. Karstens is not making a good case to be the long reliever. He just walked Bautista to load the bases with two outs. Chris Gomez grounds out to end the inning.
I'll end the liveblog here. Most of the regulars have come out. I'll be back with a recap afterwards.
-Michael Kay, August 18, 2009
Thursday, March 13, 2008