It’s Another Near-Miss for Mussina

From Associated Press

Forgive Mike Mussina if he doesn’t take this no-hitter business seriously--if his stomach doesn’t flutter, even when he’s flirting with one.

“I certainly don’t consider myself somebody who has no-hitter-type stuff, so it’s kind of fun to come within a few outs of a couple,” Mussina said after settling for a three-hitter in Baltimore’s 9-1 victory at Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Mussina lost a no-hitter in the eighth inning when Jose Valentin broke his bat on a high changeup, lining the ball cleanly into right field.

Mussina (9-2) struck out 12 and walked one. He had held Cleveland without a hit for 8 1/3 innings May 30 before Sandy Alomar singled.


“I kind of had the same feeling as I did against Cleveland,” Mussina said. “But I just figured, ‘This is the major leagues. Somebody is going to get a hit.’ ”

It turned out to be Valentin.

“I was looking more for a curve, not a changeup,” he said. “I went up there aggressive. I knew he was throwing a no-hitter. I hit it on the end of the bat and it broke my bat.”

Said Mussina: “It was a good pitch: a changeup he hit off the end of the bat. It could have been a popout. It was a single, and that’s it.”


Mussina gave up two more hits, and a sacrifice fly to Dave Nilsson in the ninth inning. He was trying to become the first to throw a no-hitter for the Orioles since Jim Palmer in 1969. Four Baltimore pitchers combined to no-hit the Oakland Athletics in 1991.

Mussina’s assessment of his no-hitter potential was disputed by his teammates.

“You saw it early,” Baltimore center fielder Jeffrey Hammonds said. “He had a little hair [speed] on his fastball and his curve was extra sharp. With a pitcher like that, you want to establish a lead early and have him bring you home.”

That’s precisely what Hammonds did, hitting two two-run homers off Cal Eldred that helped stake Mussina to a 6-0 lead after three innings. David Dellucci and B.J. Surhoff also homered as Baltimore matched its season high with four home runs.

Chicago 8, Kansas City 7--Mario Valdez’s pinch-hit single in the 10th inning gave the White Sox a victory at home and lifted them to a .500 record for the first time since April 2.

Chicago rallied with five runs in the eighth inning in winning its fifth in a row and seventh in eight games. The White Sox started the season at 5-14 and hadn’t been at .500 since splitting two season-opening games with Toronto.

In the 10th, Albert Belle led off with a single off Jeff Montgomery (0-2) and Jorge Fabregas sacrificed. Harold Baines was intentionally walked, and one out later, Valdez blooped his single to shallow center and Belle scored easily.

With the White Sox trailing, 7-2, Baines hit a three-run homer in the eighth to highlight Chicago’s rally.


New York 3, Detroit 1--Charlie Hayes’ two-run homer into the overhang in right field in the ninth inning at Detroit finished the Yankees’ three-game sweep.

Justin Thompson (7-6) and Yankee starter Andy Pettitte put on an outstanding duel of young left-handers. Pettitte left with the score tied, 1-1, after seven innings. Thompson went the distance.

Tino Martinez’s solo homer, his third in two games, broke a scoreless tie in the sixth for New York. Melvin Nieves tied it in the bottom half with an RBI double.

Mike Stanton (4-0) pitched one inning for the win and Mariano Rivera worked a one-hit ninth for his 25th save.

Boston 13, Toronto 12--Nomar Garciaparra hit Pat Hentgen’s first pitch for a homer--one of five Boston homers off him--and the Red Sox held on to sweep the three-game series at Toronto.

Hentgen (8-4) had not given up an earned run in 21 innings before Garciaparra connected for his 12th homer. Hentgen was charged with a season-high 11 runs and 13 hits in eight innings.

Mike Stanley hit a three-run homer off Hentgen, and Reggie Jefferson, Troy O’Leary and Darren Bragg hit two-run shots.

Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (3-7) gave up six runs, five earned, and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. Heathcliff Slocumb got one out for his 10th save and fourth in four days.


Trailing, 13-9, the Blue Jays scored three runs in the ninth and left the bases loaded when Slocumb struck out Carlos Delgado.

Minnesota at Cleveland, rain--The finale of a three-game series was postponed after a one-hour, 35-minute rain delay in the third inning. No makeup date was announced.




Player: N. Garciaparra

Team: Boston

Performance: 3 for 4, solo HR, SB

Team’s Result: Win


Player: Edgar Martinez

Team: Seattle

Performance: 3 for 4, 2 solo HR

Team’s Result: Win


Player: J. Hammonds

Team: Baltimore

Performance: 3 for 5, 2 2-run HRs

Team’s Result: Win


Player: Mike Mussina

Team: Baltimore

Performance: 9 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 12 strikeouts

Team’s Result: Win


Player: Andy Pettite

Team: New York

Performance: 7 innings, 8 hits, 1 run, 4 strikeouts

Team’s Result: Win


Player: J. Thompson

Team: Detroit

Performance: 9 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 8 strikeouts

Team’s Result: Lost