03/13/08 3:50 PM ET
Yanks lose despite Mussina, Crystal
Starter's five perfect innings overshadowed by comedian
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
at Tampa, Fla.
Thursday, March 13 Pirates at the plate: After being kept off the bases for the first five innings, the Bucs broke up the Yankees' bid for a perfect game in the sixth, when Jose Bautista and Chris Gomez bounced singles through the infield off Mariano Rivera. Jason Bay put the Pirates on the board with a run-scoring single off Jeff Karstens in the seventh. Steve Pearce made it a one-run game with an RBI single in the eighth, and former Yankee Doug Mientkiewicz tied it later in the inning with an RBI single. Jorge Velandia broke the tie with a two-run single with two outs in the eighth off Billy Traber.
Yankees at the plate: Leading off and serving as the designated hitter for one at-bat, Billy Crystal earned a loud ovation after fouling off a 1-0 pitch from Paul Maholm. He struck out swinging on a 3-2 slider. For the rest of the Yankees, Hideki Matsui -- playing the field for the first time this spring -- stroked a double off Jaret Wright in the fifth. Cody Ransom homered to lead off the seventh inning, and Robinson Cano added a two-run shot later in the inning.
Pirates on the mound: Making his third appearance and first start of the spring, Maholm allowed one hit in four innings, throwing 46 pitches (27 strikes). The left-hander walked none and struck out three, including one star of stage and screen. Wright, a former Yankee, pitched a scoreless fifth, and Damaso Marte did the same in the sixth.
Yankees on the mound: Mike Mussina's third Spring Training start was clearly his best, as he pitched five hitless, scoreless innings, walking none and striking out two in a 64-pitch (41-strike) outing. Rivera finally gave up a hit after two hitless appearances earlier this spring, allowing two singles in the sixth, but Rivera's sheet remained scoreless when the Yankees turned a 3-2-5 double play to end the inning. Karstens allowed 10 baserunners, recording only four outs.
Up next for the Pirates: The Pirates will play a split-squad doubleheader on Friday, hosting the Reds at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla., and playing the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla. Matt Morris will start against Josh Fogg, and Ty Taubenheim will go to the mound against Boof Bonser of the Twins. Evan Meek, Casey Fossum and Marino Salas are scheduled to pitch against the Reds, while Bryan Bullington, John Van Benschoten and T.J. Beam will see action against the Twins. Both games are scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Up next for the Yankees: The Yankees will head south again to face the Reds in Sarasota, Fla., on Friday. Phil Hughes, working off five no-hit innings so far this Grapefruit League season, will try to keep his string going, as he pitches opposite the Reds' Matt Belisle. Jonathan Albaladejo, Chris Britton, Heath Phillips and Dan Giese will also pitch for New York. First pitch is 1:05 p.m.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.