Mussina W3-0 | 6.2IP | 5H | 2ER | 0BB | 5K | 1.66ERA
BOSTON (AP) -- Mike Mussina wasn't disappointed about missing a perfect game after retiring the first 16 batters -- not after his previous Fenway Park appearance last summer.
"I've been within a strike, so I've got to be pretty close to be upset about it," he said after the New York Yankees stopped a four-game losing streak with a 6-2 win Sunday over the Boston Red Sox.
Last Sept. 2, Mussina (3-0) retired the first 26 batters and had a 1-2 count on pinch hitter Carl Everett, who blooped a single into left field.
Six days later at Yankee Stadium, he beat the Red Sox again, allowing one run and three hits in six innings. In his two previous starts this year, he allowed two runs and six hits in 15 innings.
Doug Mirabelli was Boston's first runner Sunday when he singled with one out in the sixth. Mussina gave up four hits in the seventh, including Manny Ramirez's two-run homer.
"It's always nice to get a hit," Mirabelli said, "but it was kind of meaningless as far as the game went."
The game had more than the usual meaning for closer Mariano Rivera, who had a rare failure Saturday when he allowed Shea Hillenbrand's homer in the eighth that gave Boston a 7-6 win.
Rivera got the last four outs for his fifth save in six chances as the Yankees moved back into the AL East lead, a half-game ahead of Boston.
"I watched the replay last night and I knew what I did wrong. I slept well," Rivera said. "I was hoping to pitch today."
Tim Wakefield (1-1) pitched six strong innings for Boston, leaving with a 2-0 deficit.
"Mussina is on top of his game and I knew I'd have to pitch my best to keep pace," Wakefield said. "I did that for six innings."
Then Willie Banks gave up three runs in the seventh, allowing all five batters he faced to reach base.
Robin Ventura's fifth homer of the season in the eighth finished the scoring against Sun Woo Kim. Alfonso Soriano and Rondell White also homered.
Mussina said he may have been affected by the long top of the seventh. And he's not sure why he started so well.
"It just happened that way," Mussina said. "This place has had some success for me. I'm not going to complain about it. Hopefully, I'll get everybody out next time."
He allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and no walks.
He was replaced by Ramiro Mendoza with two outs in the seventh. Mendoza got the first two outs in the eighth before Soriano made his sixth error of the season at second base and Nomar Garciaparra singled.
Rivera ended the threat by retiring Ramirez on a called third strike.
"When I have a Rivera or a Mendoza, I don't worry about it," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
The closest the Red Sox came to a hit in the first five innings was a liner to right by Ramirez in the second that right fielder Shane Spencer caught with a dive.
Trot Nixon led off the sixth with a liner to center fielder Bernie Williams. Mirabelli, hitless in eight at bats with three strikeouts, followed with his first hit of the season but Mussina retired Lou Merloni on a flyout and Johnny Damon on a grounder.
Wakefield allowed two runs -- one earned -- and four hits in six innings, striking out seven. Mirabelli's passed ball and Soriano's second homer gave New York a 2-0 lead.
Banks allowed White's third homer, Soriano's RBI double and Nick Johnson's run-scoring single.
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