Its a pattern we've become accustomed to since Wang first came up back in 2005. Wang for six or seven innings, piece together the middle innings, and Rivera to close it out. The combination has been used 24 times now, to great effect for the Yankees. However, before last night it had not happened since June 10, 2008. Wang seems to have figured things out now though. I'll have more on Wang later.
First the game though, the Yankees jumped ahead quickly for what felt like the first time in ages. Jeter dismissed worries about his health right away with a leadoff double. Nick Swisher followed with what should have been an easy ground ball out. However, Daniel Murphy tried and failed to get Jeter at third instead. This set up a big Mark Teixeira double that drove in both Swisher and Jeter. Right away this gave them a 2-0 lead and they would get one more run that inning. It looked like the Yankees were going to run away with this one if Wang could just turn a decent outing. That was all the runs they would get though until the eighth when a combination of an error and walks would lead to K-Rod walking in Mariano for his first career RBI.
The Yankees blew several opportunities with men on base and could have scored more but the pitching was good enough for them to get away with it. Chien-Ming Wang turned in his third straight solid start and was good enough to get a win. He gave up nothing to the Mets until the fourth when they tagged him for two runs and really could have finished the sixth if it had not been a one run game at that point. What's important is that he got twelve ground balls, compared to only three fly balls and no line drives. That's vintage Wang right there. He needs to get deeper into games but he seems to have cemented his position in the rotation again and is gaining back some lose trust. The Yankees then attempted to piece together the rest of the game. The two Phils (Coke and Hughes) finished the sixth for Wang, Hughes would also pitch a scoreless seventh. The eighth was the only time the game really seemed in reach for the Mets. Brian Bruney would get two outs, however, he would also walk two and be forced to give way to Mariano Rivera. Mariano, of course, got out of the jam and pitched an uneventful ninth for his 500th save.