Majestic Moose

Nothing was going to stop Mike Mussina from earning a postseason victory on Tuesday night in game three of the World Series. Not the rain, not Josh Beckett, not Juan Pierre, not even the Yankees' defensive misplays could stop the Moose from posting a ‘W' for his team. Mussina was electric through seven innings and Mariano Rivera and the Yankee bats took over from there to give New York a 6-1 win over the Marlins.

Hideki Matsui came through in the clutch for the Yankees yet again by poking the go-ahead run off of Dontrelle Willis through the hole on the left-hand side of the infield. The hit scored Derek Jeter from third base and gave New York a 2-1 lead and made Mussina the pitcher of record.

Because of the strange circumstances surrounding the final games of both League Championship Series, the two teams were unable to get their aces on the mound until game three. But this game lived up to its pitcher's duel billing – at least through eight innings – as both Mussina and Beckett dominated.

Beckett's team got the early lead on a defensive miscue by the Yankees. Juan Pierre led off the bottom of the first inning with a shallow fly ball to right centerfield. Karim Garcia got a late break on the ball and decided to back off and let Bernie Williams handle it. Williams slid but was unable to catch the ball and Pierre strolled into second with a double.

Mussina almost worked out of trouble by striking out Luis Castillo and getting Ivan Rodriguez to fly out to right, but Miguel Cabrera singled to right field to give Florida a 1-0 lead.

The lead appeared safe in the hands of Beckett, who was throwing lasers against the Yankees. He retired the first 10 batters of the game in order but ran into trouble with one out in the fourth.

Jeter broke through with a double to left field and Jason Giambi walked. After Bernie Williams popped out for the second out, Beckett hit Matsui in the foot with a pitch to load the bases. Jorge Posada worked a full count and took a borderline low ball four to bring home the tying run.

The game stayed tied until there were two outs in the fifth inning when the skies opened up and the Florida rains started coming down. Around a 40-minute rain delay ensued, but Mussina stayed in the game. He allowed another single to Pierre, but Jorge Posada caught Pierre stealing to end that inning.

The Moose worked out of trouble again in the sixth inning, getting Pudge Rodriguez into a rundown between third and home and striking out Mike Lowell with two men on.

The Yankees broke through with the go-ahead run in the eighth but were denied anything more when Chad Fox struck out pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra to end the threat. In the ninth however, the Yankees broke the game wide open. Aaron Boone led off the frame with a solo homerun to left field, and Bernie Williams nailed a three-run homerun off of Braden Looper to put the game out of reach.

With the blast, Williams broke the all-time record for postseason homeruns. His 19th round-tripper put him past both Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle on that illustrious list.

Mussina (1-3) went seven innings and allowed just a run on seven hits and an intentional walk. He fanned nine batters to give him 41 strikeouts in the playoffs in just 36 1/3 innings.

Beckett (1-2) was almost as good, allowing just two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out 10 batters. But the bullpen couldn't hold down the lead, and the Marlins now trail this series two games to one.

Mariano Rivera worked yet another two-inning save, his fifth such save of the postseason so far. He allowed just a hit and struck out a pair of Marlins.

Game four of the World Series will feature the final start of Roger Clemens' (2-0, 3.38) career, no matter what. Clemens will start for the Yankees against Florida's Carl Pavano (2-0, 1.59).

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